Trailer orders hit 17-month high

Net orders for trailers hit a 17-month high at just under 17,000 units in April, according to Kenneth Vieth III with ACT Research.

“We are moving off the bottom, and things are looking much better,” Vieth said. “But the intermodal equipment market remains in the tank.”

The strengthening U S economy is triggering growth for trailer manufacturers, he said.

“The modest rebound in U S economic fortunes has allowed trailer orders to improve and backlogs to rise,” Vieth said. “Looking ahead, the data suggest that (the first quarter of 2002) will mark the bottom for trailer production this cycle. While the trailer market isn't as buoyant as the emissions-frenzied Class 8 market, the industry is improving in a more sustainable fashion.”

Trailer shipments were down sharply in the first quarter, according to ACT Research. The company estimates that the industry shipped 22,456 trailers during the period, 44% lower than the first quarter of 2001. The industry shipped 15,810 vans during the first three months of 2002, down 45%. All other trailer types declined 41% from year-earlier levels.

The incomplete trailer market, including containers, container chassis, and converter dollies, was off 51%. Manufacturers shipped 4,296 of these units during the first quarter, compared with 8,715 during the first three months of 2001.

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