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1/28/2015 8:40:00 AM Write a Letter to the Editor Write a letter to the Editor

Trailer Orders Jump to Record Level in 2014

Daniel Acker/Bloomberg News

New trailer orders jumped in December to the second-highest level on record, rounding out the trailer industry’s best year for order placement, according to ACT Research.

December’s total of 43,840 net orders was second only to October’s tally two months earlier, when North American manufacturers received 47,844. The December figure represented a 51% jump from the same month in 2013 and a 21% increase from November.

The spike in demand late last year elevated 2014’s cumulative order total to 359,085, supplanting 1994’s 327,000 orders as the all-time high, ACT’s data showed. Last year’s order intake jumped 55% from the 232,159 placed in 2013.

Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst, attributed the spike in trailer demand primarily to fleets’ ongoing replacement needs combined with improved profitability.

“The fleet is really old and truckers are finally starting to make money,” he said. “It’s not enough that there’s freight to haul. Truckers have to make money hauling that freight as well to have the comfort to buy equipment.”

Vieth said the average age of the North American trailer fleet stood at about eight years at the end of 2014. That’s down from the peak of 8.3 years in the 2010 to 2012 timeframe, but still well above the historical average of about seven years.

The industry’s total order backlog had expanded to 180,400 units at the end of 2014, up from 158,600 a month earlier and nearly double the 91,000-unit backlog at the end of 2013, Vieth said.

By Transport Topics

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