COLUMBUS, Ind. — According to a preliminary report released by ACT Research, net trailer orders for August increased sequentially, to 11,500 units, but were lower against longer-term comparisons. Because August is one of the weakest order months of the year, seasonal adjustment boosts the tally to 14,700 units.
“Preliminary net orders, at 14,700 seasonally adjusted, were 6% lower sequentially,” said Jennifer McNealy, director of commercial vehicle market research and publications at ACT Research. “With still-high backlogs, 2024 orderboards only minimally open, and August as a traditionally weak order month, it remains too soon for robust expectations.”
The data provides mixed messages, she said, noting that cancellations remain elevated, primarily driving by the dry van and flatbed segments, while backlogs are still at healthy levels.
“In July, the BL/BU ratio was north of six months in aggregate, with some specialty segments having no available build slots until the beginning of 2025,” she said. “Demand may be softening, but it’s not gone. The next few months should provide more illumination on the 2024 outlook, as orders move from the current negotiation stage into booked business.”
When asked about the backlog’s trajectory, McNealy said, “Using preliminary August orders and the corresponding OEM build plans from the August State of the Industry: U.S. Trailers report (July data) for guidance, we would expect the trailer backlog to decrease by around 21,700 units to about 135,600 units when complete August data are released. As this number is derived from estimated data, note there will be some variability to reported backlogs when final data are collected.”
Final August results will be available later this month.
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.