August orders continued to reflect the early opening to the 2018-19 order season.
Total trailer net orders of more than 38,000 units were up 31% month over month and 142% better than this time last year, according to this month’s issue of ACT Research’s State of the Industry: US Trailer Report.
“Seven of 10 trailer categories were in the black month over month (flats, heavy lowbeds and dump trailers trailed the pack), while year over year eight of 10 were better (bulk tanks and grain were in the red),” said Frank Maly, ACT’s director of commercial vehicle transportation analysis and research.
“YTD net orders are up 40%, led by a 110% gain in reefers, while dry vans are up 33%.
“Although we expect trailer orders to be roughly 1.5 times Class 8 tractor orders over the long run, the three-month moving average of trailer orders has been declining since December, and slid below 1.0 in both July and August. That’s an indication of both fleet attitudes and their willingness to continue to invest in new equipment, with truck OEMs perhaps just a bit more willing to book longer-term commitments.”
Additionally, the report noted that the industry continues to experience inventory-related issues.
“Indications are that OEMs would have built more trailers but were limited by continuing component and material availability challenges,” Maly said. “Tires are frequently noted as a bottleneck, with undercarriage components and wheels continuing to be mentioned as well. Red-tags are also apparently continuing to occur, but less mention of them may indicate a bit less overall impact than in the second quarter.
“That said, we expect an attempt to clear some of those in the quarter-ending month of September.”