Trailer shipments down again, EPA INC says

Trailer shipments dropped again in the opening quarter of this year, according to a survey of trailer manufacturers conducted quarterly by Economic Planning Associates (EPA Inc), Smithtown NY.

The 37.5% year-over-year decline is the smallest since the fourth quarter of 2000. It was the seventh consecutive quarterly decline in trailer shipments since the second quarter of 2000.

The decrease was centered in the van sector, EPA Inc said. Dry freight van shipments were off 47.8% from the comparable quarter of last year, while insulated vans were running 30.8% below the opening quarter of last year.

The non-van segment fared somewhat better with a year-over-year drop of 22.6% in this year's first quarter. Construction-oriented equipment such as dumps and low-beds suffered declines of 16.1% and 14.0%, respectively, as high levels of construction activities began to support these categories.

The modest 9.1% easing in tank shipments points to improving production activities and profit performances among chemical processors, increasing demand for petroleum products, and increased movements of liquid foods and beverages. EPA Inc expects tank demand to increase during the remainder of this year and into 2003, the result in part of ongoing pressure to significantly expand production and movement of corn-derived ethanol.

"We expect some stabilization in the downward momentum of trailer demand this quarter before a modest acceleration begins in the second half of this year and into 2003," says Peter Toja, president of EPA Inc. "However, due to the extremely weak start, full year 2002 trailer shipments will record their third consecutive annual decline before rebounding in 2003."

Complete details and short- and long-term forecasts of customer market activities as well as individual trailer types and containers and chassis are contained in the June 2002 edition of EPA's quarterly truck trailer report. For information, contact EPA Inc at (631) 864-4900.

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