According to data tracked by FTR Transportation Intelligence, net trailer orders for the month of May totaled 16,600 units, down 17% month-over-month but continuing to show strong year-over-year comparisons, as that’s up 26% versus May 2016. 

“This was a very typical month for the trailer market.  Business activity met expectations, with few surprises,” noted Don Ake, FTR’s vice president of commercial vehicles, in a statement.

“Refrigerated trailers appear to be weakening a bit faster than expected, but sales had been so strong, for so long, this had to happen eventually.  The vocational non-van segments have stabilized and continue to make a moderate recovery,” he added.

May marked the start of what Ake called a “typical seasonal decline” in trail orders after two months of stronger than expected activity. Most segments experienced month-over-month reductions, except for liquid tanker units and lowbed trailer orders, each of which had small increases. 

Trailer orders overall now total 253,000 units for the past twelve months, with backlogs falling 7% and remaining 15% below last year’s levels, while production is up 3% from April on a per day basis, Ake said.

“It still looks like a great year for the trailer market,” he explained. “Replacement demand remains vibrant in the dry van segment and steady in the other segments. The expected increase in freight volumes is creating expansion demand in many segments [and] this should provide decent market momentum rolling into 2018.”