ACT Research: Industry Backlog Grows as February Trailer Orders Remain Solid

Preliminary reports from ACT Research indicate that February’s net order volume of 24,200 trailers was up 82% from the same month last year. However, this was down 21% from January 2021 bookings. Final February volume will be available later this month. This preliminary market estimate should be within 5% of the final order tally.

“Given last year’s COVID-related softer economy, year-over-year improvement for net orders is a foregone conclusion over the next few months. February’s sequential decline in net orders was a bit larger than seasonal patterns would project but was directionally correct,” Frank Maly, director of CV transportation analysis and research at ACT Research, said. “Preliminary results for the month still show that the industry backlog continued to grow in February, reaching the highest point since March 2019. With many OEMs reporting their capacity committed for the year, there may be some reluctance to push the backlog horizon out even further, on both the part of OEMs and fleets.

“The backlog horizon will be pulled forward in response to higher OEM build rates. February prelims indicate that goal remains elusive, with minimal increases in production rates last month. Our discussions indicate that staffing remains the primary headwind impeding higher production, with component and material supplies also noted as concerns. Fleets want to add more trailers to their operations but would certainly like more advantageous delivery time frames.”

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