Fleets ordered 42,200 trucks in June, more than double the number they bought in the same month a year ago, according to preliminary figures from ACT Research, and 18.5 percent more than they ordered in May.
“We’re expecting in June that the backlog will rise to a level we haven’t seen since about 1999,” said Kenny Vieth, president of Columbus, Ind.-based ACT. The backlog-to-build ratio was about 9.6 months at the end of May, he said, meaning most trucks ordered in June won’t arrive until the first half of 2019.
June is typically a weak month for truck orders. But the persistent robust demand for the heavy-duty vehicles used for long hauls meant carriers ordered new trucks at a seasonally adjusted rate of 492,000 vehicles in the first six months of this year — “the strongest six-month order period that we have in our database, which goes back to 1982,” Vieth said.
Truck operators are racing to meet unrelenting shipping demand in a strong U.S. economy.
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