EPA Inc reports 9% gain in truck trailer shipments

TRAILER shipments edged up 9% in 2005, according to figures compiled by EPA Inc of Smithtown, New York.

Manufacturers shipped 244,170 complete trailers for the year, up from 223,625 shipped in 2004.

Platforms and tanks both had particularly strong years, up 28% and 29%, respectively. Manufacturers shipped an estimated 24,600 platform trailers last year. Tank trailer shipments were estimated at 8,000 for the year.

Compared with these two categories, other types of trailers were relatively flat. However, the industry was up across the board, according to EPA Inc. Every type of complete trailer grew by at least 2% compared with 2004.

Here are the results by category:

  • Dry freight vans: 131,800 shipped during 2005, up 4%
  • Insulated vans: 38,850, up 16%.
  • All other vans: 10,600, up 6%.
  • Platforms: 26,400, up 28%.
  • Tanks: 8,000, up 29%.
  • Lowbeds: 11,300, up 6%.
  • Dumps: 9,350, up 15%.
  • Bulk commodity: 2,325, up 8%.
  • All other trailers: 5,350, up 2%.

The industry finished the year with a flourish, according to Peter Toja, president of EPA Inc.

“After a brief pause in the third quarter, trailer shipments advanced at a brisk pace in last year's closing quarter,” Toja says. “A 9.2% increase in fourth quarter shipments from the previous quarter brought full year 2005 shipments to 244,200 units, 9.2% above the 2004 level.

Last year was not a strong one for the production of intermodal equipment. Container and chassis shipments posted a very modest 2.4% gain last year. However, Toja expects advances in container and chassis shipments during the foreseeable future.

“After a robust 10.4% jump in 2004, intermodal traffic advanced at the healthy pace of 6.4% last year,” Toja says. “As a result, intermodal revenues are garnering an increasing share of railroad revenues and are causing railroads to focus more attention on improving service in order to accommodate further growth in traffic.”

After a relatively slow fourth quarter in overall economic activities, Toja expects a stronger growth in the quarters ahead.

Toja believes the residential segment of the construction market will ease moderately this year. However, he expects stronger outlays for public, commercial, and industrial projects. Spending is expected to be particularly strong along the Gulf Coast over the next two years as the area continues to rebuild following last summer's devastating hurricanes.

The manufacturing sector is another area Toja expects to be strong in 2006.

Details of the survey are contained in reports that the company sends to its clients.

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