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ACT: Trailer order rush closes 2020

Jan. 20, 2021
Full year estimated net order volume of more than 288,000 units is 40% better than 2019, according to ACT

Preliminary information for December indicates that the U.S. trailer industry booked 42,500 net orders for the month, 7% better than November and 140% above year-ago levels, according to ACT Research.

For the full year, estimated net order volume of more than 288k trailers was 40% better than 2019.

Final December volume will be available later this month.

“December activity closes a tumultuous year on a very solid up-note,” Frank Maly, director CV Transportation Analysis and Research, said. “As has been the story throughout recent months, dry van demand continued to drive the market. While October and November were the best two dry van order months in history, final stats will likely show December not far behind, ranking fifth best.

“After rushing to the sidelines in the spring, fleets surged back into the market as the year proceeded, reacting to capacity challenges as well as higher freight rates. Those factors drove a dramatic shift in the short-to-medium term outlook for fleets, driving them to make aggressive investment commitments in the latter part of the year.”

Total industry backlog likely ended the year at more than 200k trailers, the best orderboard level since April 2019, Maly noted.

“At current production levels, many OEMs would well be fully committed for 2021 production slots,” he said. “However, OEMs will work to increase production levels as we move through the year, pulling that backlog horizon forward.”

ACT Research’s State of the Industry: U.S. Trailers report provides a monthly review of the current US trailer market statistics, as well as trailer OEM build plans and market indicators divided by all major trailer types, including backlogs, build, inventory, new orders, cancellations, net orders, and factory shipments. It is accompanied by a database that gives historical information from 1996 to the present, as well as a ready-to-use graph packet, to allow organizations in the trailer production supply chain, and those following the investment value of trailers and trailer OEMs and suppliers, to better understand the market.

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