COLUMBUS, Ind. — Peak order season for trailers opened in September, and October net orders continued to show strong bookings, according to ACT Research’s State of the Industry: U.S. Trailers report.
However, cancellations in some segments remain elevated, despite healthy backlogs.
On balance, two solid months of orders are not enough for us to say “sunny skies ahead,” particularly when freight markets continue their bounce along the bottom and carrier profits remain at a low ebb, the report states.
October net orders, at 35,300 units, were 26% higher year-over-year, and 4,000 units more than were booked in September.
“Historically, 35% of the year’s orders are booked in Q4, so the quarter’s seasonal factors run roughshod on the nominal data. Seasonally adjusted, October’s orders fell to 26,200 units. On that basis, instead of rising from September, orders decreased 9% month-over-month,” said Jennifer McNealy, director of commercial vehicle market Research and publications at ACT Research. “While the last two months’ order intake is a positive sign, what we don’t yet know is for how long this level of deal closing will be sustained in the freight recession that is expected to linger into early 2024.”
McNealy said that the industry cancellation rate moderated to 1.2% of the backlog in October, from September’s 2.8% level.
“And as expected in October, orders outpaced production,” she said. “As a result, the trailer backlogs grew 5% sequentially, but remained lower year-over-year, down more than 25% against 2022’s supply-chain constrained and pent-up demand heavy environment.”
Born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and raised in East Texas, John Worthen returned to his home state to attend college in 1998 and decided to make his life in The Natural State. Worthen is a 20-year veteran of the journalism industry and has covered just about every topic there is. He has a passion for writing and telling stories. He has worked as a beat reporter and bureau chief for a statewide newspaper and as managing editor of a regional newspaper in Arkansas. Additionally, Worthen has been a prolific freelance journalist for two decades, and has been published in several travel magazines and on travel websites.