ACT Research: Freight Market ‘Boiler’ Still Has Steam

According to the latest release of ACT Research’s North American Commercial Vehicle OUTLOOK, there is considerable steam left in the boiler that will continue to propel the economy broadly, including the freight markets.

“The sugar rush of stimulus money began rolling off at an increasing pace in June, and with extended unemployment benefits being curtailed in roughly half the United States, employment numbers, including new jobs in trucking, jumped,” Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst at ACT Research, said. “As U.S. industry shakes off the rust and capacity comes back on line, we are reminded of the old chestnut, ‘the cure for high prices is high prices.’ With prices for many commodities reaching new records in 2021, there is a great desire to bring new capacity on line to take advantage of the bonanza. While there are signs of moderation, and the economy is closer to reaching the ‘end of the beginning’ of this year-old up-cycle, the ‘beginning of the end’ is not yet on the radar.”

When asked about commercial vehicle demand, Vieth said, “Medium-duty, heavy-duty and trailer backlogs are essentially filled through 2021 and into 2022, with backlog-to-build ratios well above traditional ranges. Class 8 and trailer orders remain constrained on limited calendar-year 2022 build slot access, and with demand hot and production constrained, inventories have narrowed considerably.”

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