US market research company, ACT Research, has commented on its latest State of the Industry: US Trailer Report, citing improvements and speculation in trailer order trends.
August orders continued to reflect the early opening to the 2018/19 order season with total trailer net orders of more than 38,000 units (up 31 per cent month-to-month) and 142 per cent.
ACT Research Director – CV Transportation Analysis and Research, Frank Maly, said that seven of 10 trailer categories were in the black month-to-month (flats, lowbeds and dump trailers trailed in the pack) while year-over-year, eight of ten were better (bulk tanks and grain were in the red).
“[year to date] YTD net orders are up 40 per cent, led by a 110 per cent gain in reefers, while dry vans are up 33 per cent,” said Maly. “Although we expect trailer orders to be roughly 1.5x Class 8 tractor orders over the long-run, the 3MMA of trailer orders has been declining since December, and slid below 1.0 in both July and August; that’s an indication of both fleet attitudes and their willingness to continue to invest in new equipment, with truck OEMs perhaps just a bit more willing to book longer-term commitments.”
The report also noted that the industry continues experience inventory-related issues.
“Indications are that OEMs would have built more trailers but were limited by continuing component and material availability challenges,” said Maly. Tyres are frequently noted as a bottleneck, with undercarriage components and wheels continuing to be mentioned as well. Red-tags are also apparently continuing to occur, but less mention of them may indicate a bit less overall impact than in Q2. That said, we expect an attempt to clear some of those in the quarter-ending month of September.”