COLUMBUS, Ind. — Reflecting a higher build rate, the backlog-to-build ratio contracted to 8.5 months in February, after closing January at 9.9 months. For context, the average since Q3’21 has been in the 8-month neighborhood, according to this month’s issue of ACT Research’s State of the Industry: U.S. Trailers report.
“With most categories showing higher build in February, backlogs slid slightly, down 0.5% sequentially (but +23% year-over-year). The dry van backlog was 0.4% lower month-over-month, with reefers down 0.6% and flats nearly 4% lower compared to January,” said Jennifer McNealy, director of commercial vehicle market research and publications at ACT Research. “Despite (manufacturers) expanding availability, 2023 is not yet fully open, partially because manufacturers are facing volatile commodity costs, long lead times for some input components and improving but still challenging labor considerations … (and) also because manufacturers are reluctant to overpromise and underdeliver on both price and timing.”
While overall demand remains robust, some manufacturers shared this month that conversations of softening are happening.
That said, the same manufacturers indicated the talk has not yet turned into slowing orders or cancellations.
“Other OEMs told us they are seeing a few actual cancellations, but the cancel data is primarily a reflection of spec changes and plant rewrites,” McNealy concluded. “Some smaller fleets and owner operators have cancelled orders, but large fleets remain eager to fill the void. OEM conversations also continue to suggest supply-chain constraints are likely to remain a limiting factor to production in 2023, with manufacturers mentioning a renewed fluctuation in materials costs, particularly steel, and continuing long lead times of some components.”
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.