ECONOMIC WATCH: ‘Signs of life’ in trailer market, FTR says – Truck News

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Final net trailer orders for May totaled just
4,300 units, up 1,200% from “dismal” April activity but down 64% year-over-year
with elevated cancelations, FTR reported.

All segments saw month-over-month increases, but it appeared
fleets were reluctant to replace older trailers and are closely monitoring the freight
markets before placing orders for 2020 deliveries.

“Freight demand
has started a slow and choppy recovery after hitting the bottom in mid-April.
The freight markets should continue to improve as concern about the pandemic
wanes and more sectors of the economy reopen. A key area is the manufacturing
sector which got severely crunched when many factories shut down, some not
reopening until May. Industrial-related freight will take longer to recover
than consumer freight,” said Don Ake, FTR’s vice-president of commercial
vehicles.

“There are signs
of life in the trailer market. We expect June orders to be much better than the
previous two months. After that, it depends on the speed and strength of the
economic recovery. The summer is traditionally a weak time for trailer orders,
but the buying cycles have been disrupted. Everything ordered in the next four
months should still be for use this year. There is still a fair amount of quote
activity happening, it just depends on fleet confidence going forward.”

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