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FTR, ACT report significant decline in trailer orders for December

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Ftr, act report significant decline in trailer orders for december
FTR Transportation Intelligence reports that trailer orders for December were the lowest since August at 16,500 units. ACT Research indicates that trailer manufacturers booked 17,200 net orders last month. (Courtesy: Great Dane)

Both FTR Transportation Intelligence and ACT Research report that trailer order saw a decline in December 2019 from both the previous month as well as December of the previous year.

FTR states that preliminary trailer orders for December were the lowest since August at 16,500 units. December trailer orders were -17% month over month and -41% year over year. Trailer orders for 2019 totaled 203,000 units. This decline is likely because fleets are displaying the same caution on trailers as they are showing in their Class 8 order activity.

ACT Research’s preliminary estimates for trailer sales also indicates a significant decline for December 2019 with trailer manufacturers booked 17,200 net orders to their orderboards last month, which is a 13% decline from November volume. Activity was 37% below last December. For the full year, the industry saw a 51% decline versus 2018 volume. That annual volume was the lowest since 2011.

Before accounting for cancellations, ACT found that new orders in December were 17,900 trailers, off 16% month-over-month and 39% below last year. Full-year new orders of just over 244,000 units were down 44% versus 2018. Final volume will be available later this month. This preliminary market estimate should be within +/- 3% of the final order tally.

“The year closed on a disappointing note, as fleets continue to maintain a very conservative stance toward 2020 capital investment,” said Frank Maly, director of CV transportation analysis and research at ACT Research. “Backlog declined in 11 months of 2019, with October being the only exception to that trend. The year-end orderboard sets a very soft foundation for OEMs for the new year, as OEMs seek to better balance their production volumes to their existing orderboards,”.

The large carriers are being careful with their ordering strategy by placing smaller orders with shorter lead times than is typical at the end of a calendar year, according to FTR.  A great deal of uncertainty exists at the start of 2020 due to a weaker manufacturing segment, the drag of tariffs, and a tumultuous political situation.  Buyer nervousness is expected to increase throughout the year due to the upcoming election and conflict in the Middle East.

Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles, commented, “Freight is forecast to grow only about 1% this year, putting little pressure on fleets to boost trailer capacity as they did the last few years. However, total freight levels remain elevated and trailer production for 2020, although down significantly from 2019’s record year, is forecast to be good from a historical perspective. Fleets are expected to continue to replace old trailers based on their standard trade-in cycles. Van trailers sales, spurred by strong consumer spending, are still doing better than the vocational segments.”

Trailer orders should stay in the 20,000 unit a month range for a while, as fleets continue to carefully match orders with short-term demand. Eventually, the manufacturing sector should recover, generating more orders for flatbed and dump trailers.”

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Transflo adds Surfsight video technology to its platform of freight solutions

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Transflo adds surfsight vehicle video technology to its platform of freight solutions
Surfsight provides real-time video visibility and insight into fleet performance and challenging situations on the road, helping fleets reduce risk and insurance claims while improving safety and productivity. (Courtesy: Transflo)

TAMPA, Florida — Transflo, a mobile, telematics and business process automation provider to the transportation industry, has announced the AI-12 Dual Facing Dashcam solution as part of its Mobile+ ecosystem of digital and telematics solutions for truck fleets and drivers.

Surfsight provides real-time video visibility and insight into fleet performance and challenging situations on the road, helping fleets reduce risk and insurance claims while improving safety and productivity.

Integrated with Transflo’s telematics platform, the cloud-connected Surfsight dashcam uses front-facing and cabin-facing cameras. The camera uses built-in artificial intelligence to detect hazards on the road, and infrared to recognize driver distractions in the vehicle. The driver is automatically alerted.

Surfsight streams from vehicles to secure cloud-based servers, providing fleet managers with continuous access to video. Managers can review video of groups or individual vehicles via a customized, secure, online dashboard using a web browser running on any type of device. Surfsight also provides access to on-demand video retrieval and review on the company’s cloud platform.

Surfsight dashcams cost just $200 and monthly subscriptions start at $25 per month as part of Transflo Bundle+, which extends the capabilities of the Transflo Mobile+ platform.

“Increasingly, video is an important tool for improving safety and operational visibility,” said Doug Schrier, vice president of product and innovation for Transflo. “The Transflo Bundle+ platform is the ideal way to incorporate vehicle video and telematics into your digital workflow.”

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U.S. trailer net orders closed 2019 down 51% from full-year 2018

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U.s. trailer net orders closed 2019 down 51% from full-year 2018
ACT Research reports that even though most of the major trailer categories showed month-over-month gains, the drop in dry can orders was enough to put the total industry results in the red.

COLUMBUS, Ind. – New U.S. trailer orders of 18,400 were down 13% month-over-month in December, and after accounting for cancellations, net orders of 17,700 dropped 11%. Longer-term comparisons show net orders down 35% year-over-year and 51% lower compared to full-year 2018, according to this month’s issue of ACT Research’s State of the Industry: U.S. Trailer Report.

ACT Research’s State of the Industry: U.S. Trailers report provides a monthly review of the current US trailer market statistics, as well as trailer OEM build plans and market indicators divided by all major trailer types, including backlogs, build, inventory, new orders, cancellations, net orders and factory shipments. It is accompanied by a database that gives historical information from 1996 to the present.

“While seven of the ten major trailer categories posted month-over-month gains, the sequential 32% drop in dry van orders was significant enough to pull the total industry results into the red,” said Frank Maly, director of CV transportation analysis and research at ACT Research. “Continued softness in both freight volumes and rates are generating financial headwinds for fleets, and as a result, their investment plans continue to be extremely cautious.”

Maly continued, “Fleets are aware that, as a result of weaker OEM orderboards, lead times are dramatically shorter than this time last year, so any orders placed now are likely to be delivered in a much more acceptable timeframe. It is also likely that pricing will be more advantageous.”

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Peterbilt delivers model 579EV to Werner for electric-powered truck pilot program

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Peterbilt has partnered with Werner Enterprises for their electric operations. The 579EV utilizes a TransPower Energy Storage Subsystem. (Courtesy: Peterbilt)

DENTON, Texas ­— Werner Enterprises has selected the Peterbilt Model 579EV for their battery electric-powered truck pilot program.

“Werner Enterprises has long been regarded as an industry pioneer, and Peterbilt is honored to partner with them and have our 579EV lead their electric operations,” said PACCAR Vice President and Peterbilt General Manager, Jason Skoog. “Peterbilt is leading the charge in electric vehicle development, with three applications for zero-emissions performance.”

The 579EV delivered to Werner utilizes a TransPower Energy Storage Subsystem with a total storage capacity of 352 kWh.  It is driven by a Meritor Blue-Horizon Mid-Ship Motor Drive Subsystem with up to 430 HP, features an estimated range of about 150 miles and a charging time as little as 1-hour when a fast-charging system is utilized.

Funding for the tractor was provided through the California Air Resource Board California Climate Investments (CCI) program, along with the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

“Werner is committed to finding alternative ways to keep our trucks environmentally-friendly while staying at the front edge of technology,” said Werner Enterprises President and Chief Executive Officer Derek Leathers. “Now, we’re excited about putting on some real-world miles with a dedicated customer in southern California over the next year.”

Pricing and option availability for 579EVs will be available on the Peterbilt’s SmartSpec sales tool in the second half of 2020.

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