Trailer shipments drop 48% from 2000

Shipments of complete trailers started slowly in 2001 and then bogged down, according to quarterly figures compiled by ACT Research LLC.

ACT reports the industry shipped 140,084 complete trailers during the year, down 48% from 2000. Of those, 100,394 were vans — down 50% from a year earlier. The rest of the industry — including tanks, platforms, heavy haulers, dump trailers, and auto transporters — were off 42% from their 2000 levels.

The first quarter was the industry's best in 2001, ACT reports. Factories shipped 39,857 complete trailers during the first three months of 2001, including 28,557 vans. In addition, manufacturers reported shipping 8,715 containers, chassis, dollies, and converter gear.

But things went downhill from there. Shipments in the second quarter slipped to 37,300 and lost an additional 5% in the third quarter before dropping 22% more during the last three months of 2001. The industry shipped 27,509 complete trailers, including 19,927 vans, in the fourth quarter.

“The drop in shipments in the fourth quarter of this year was quite dramatic, as backlogs continued to deteriorate and order activity fell below volumes recorded during the 1990-1991 recession,” ACT's Kenny Vieth III says. “We are projecting that shipments are likely to fall further during the first quarter (of 2002).”

ACT Research to provide quarterly trailer statistics

ACT Research LLC, a specialist in commercial vehicle statistics, analysis and forecasting, has announced that it will make public a summary of trailer shipments every three months.

“Due to the vacuum in publicly available trailer industry statistics, we have decided to release U S trailer industry factory shipments on a quarterly basis as a service to the industry,” Kenny Vieth III said.

Each month ACT publishes five comprehensive reports and provides e-mail and telephone support to its subscribers. ACT also publishes a series of quarterly freight forecasts by mode. The trailer shipment figures ACT plans to make public are based on reports that leading trailer manufacturers submit to the company.

The vacuum to which Vieth refers was generated when the U S Bureau of Census stopped publishing its M37L report, a monthly survey of trailer shipments, at the end of 2000. Starting last year, the Federal Reserve began using ACT trailer data in lieu of the M37L report to compile its Industrial Production Index.

For additional information, contact ACT Research Company, LLC at (812) 379-2085 or e-mail Kenny Vieth at [email protected].

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