Trailer shipments up 31%

HALFWAY THROUGH 2004, manufacturers have topped last year's shipments by 31%, according to figures compiled by ACT Research in Columbus, Indiana.

Manufacturers shipped 114,882 complete trailers during the first six months of 2004. Of those, 83,752 were van trailers — a 29% increase from the corresponding period of 2003. All other trailers, including platforms, dumps, heavy haulers, and tanks, were up 40%.

In addition, manufacturers shipped an estimated 15,218 containers, chassis, and converter dollies during the first half of 2004, up 19% from last year.

All types of trailers posted gains in the second quarter. Manufacturers shipped 43,459 vans during the period, compared with 33,799 for the second quarter of 2003. The remaining 16,470 trailers were up sharply from the 11,768 shipped during last year's second quarter.

It could have been even better.

“While build and sales rates rose nicely through the first half of the year, we have seen a deterioration in the rate of order placement since higher trailer prices were announced across the industry in the first quarter,” says ACT Research's Kenny Vieth. “The slowdown is a combination of seasonal order weakness and trucker resistance to higher prices. Fortunately, the economy and freight volumes are growing; truckers won't be able to defer demand indefinitely. We expect that orders will rebound as we move into fall, allowing the recovery to continue.”

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