Trailer orders continue to be negatively affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, falling 54% from an already depressed February to 6,500 units for the month, according to data from industry researcher FTR Transportation Intelligence, released today. Orders were down 55% compared to March 2019.
FTR reported particularly weak orders for dry vans, with some large fleets canceling orders that were spread out over the remainder of the year. Flatbed orders were weak as well. Orders for refrigerated vans fared better; they were down, but not to the same degree as the other sectors, FTR said. Trailer orders for the last 12 months totaled 177,000 units.
The industry is being cautious as anxiety about the coronavirus continues, and as a result are delaying replacing older trailers until the economic situation stabilizes, according to Don Ake, FTR’s vice president of commercial vehicles.
Despite the decline, March orders exceeded last June’s total of 5,600, when some large fleets canceled dry van orders as the freight market cooled, Ake also said.
“It is expected there will be some over-capacity in the short-term due to the enormous number of new trailers that entered the market in the last three years. Some of those trailers will sit idle during this rough economic downturn,” Ake said in a statement Thursday. “They will go back into service gradually as things recover. However, this will limit new trailer demand for a while. This is a severe wait-and-see situation with a potentially long wait period. Expect orders to track around the 10,000-unit mark for a few months as a result.”