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January 13, 2021 3:15 PM, EST

US Trailer Orders in December Surge Past Year Earlier

WabashTrailers on an assembly line at a Wabash manufacturing plant. (Wabash Trailers)

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U.S. trailer orders in December jumped 140% from a year earlier as they cleared 42,000, ACT Research reported, citing trailer makers’ initial data.

Preliminary net orders hit 42,500 compared with 17,732 a year earlier, according to ACT.

December’s activity closed a “tumultuous” year on a very solid up note, said Frank Maly, ACT director of commercial vehicle transportation analysis, as dry van demand continued to drive the market.

“While October and November were the best two dry van order months in history, final stats will likely show December not far behind, ranking fifth best,” Maly said.

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FTR pegged preliminary net U.S. trailer orders at 43,700.

Consumer-oriented freight growth continues to rise and should continue, pushed by the second government stimulus. Vocational trailer orders still are recovering but should improve as manufacturing grows, FTR reported.

“Fleet optimism continues to gain momentum,” said Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles. “Freight volumes are healthy and growing, while the industry is still scrambling to handle the economic restart. The growth should continue as people get vaccinated and employment rises. I also expect manufacturing activity to intensify soon. This will lift industrial-oriented freight.”

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