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May 16, 2017 3:30 PM, EDT

Trailer Orders Exceed 20,000 in April

John Sommers II for Transport Topics

U.S. orders for trailers in April eclipsed 20,000 and posted strong year-over-year gains, analysts said.

The 20,200 total marked an increase of 22% from the 2016 period, ACT Research Co. said, citing a preliminary estimate that will be revised later this month.

April marked the fifth consecutive month of year-over-gains, ACT said, and the seventh consecutive month of orders exceeding 20,000.

Fleets continue to fine-tune their investment plans for this year, said Frank Maly, ACT’s director of commercial vehicle transportation analysis and research. “Our preliminary results indicate that dry vans continue to post solid numbers, while flatbeds appear to have garnered the best year-over-year order growth, on a percentage basis, last month.”

At the same time, research company FTR pegged its net total at 20,000 units, saying fleets are continuing to place orders for second-half 2017 delivery, and dealer orders also are brisk.

“The trailer market held on to the strong production gains of March, which is a great sign for future sales,” said Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles.

“Orders were less than production for the second straight month, which means backlogs are easing down," he added. "This is consistent with seasonal trends in a healthy, normal market. The second quarter looks to be robust, based on April’s production rates and the respectable backlog levels. Orders will fall off in the summer, but 2017 will be a better year than expected.”