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, 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).”