ACT Research: Production Constraints Challenge U.S. Trailer Production

According to this quarter’s issue of ACT Research’s Trailer Components Report, trailer orders were preliminarily and meaningfully lower in April than previous months.

“Lower orders will be the result of dry van and reefer order boards that commit most OEMs through the remainder of this year and well into the next,” Frank Maly, director of CV transportation analysis and research at ACT Research, said. “Additionally, cancellations increased in both March and April — with a mix of pricing reviews by OEMs of units on the order board — due to increased component and materials costs appearing to be a driving force in those adjustments. ACT has increased trailer forecasts for nearly all trailer categories, with dry vans and reefers now projected to set new annual production records next year.

“The industry is rebounding from the COVID-generated market pressures of 2020, and extremely strong freight volumes and the resulting surge in fleet financials are providing the need for additional equipment and the ability for the capex investment. That said, staffing is expected to be a major headwind during this market upturn, and component pricing increases are also pushing trailer prices upward. Ultimately, softer order volumes are expected through early summer until trailer OEMs reopen their order books after getting component supplies and pricing into place and increasing their staffing levels to support stronger production rates.”

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