Trailer makers struggling to meet demand

by Today's Trucking

January trailer orders exceeded build rates by 66% in January, according to ACT Research, pushing the industry backlog higher over the past seven months.

In its Trailer Components Report, ACT reports trailer manufacturers are struggling to maintain production volumes in the face of component shortages.

“First of all, it is important to remember that trailer market strength is highly segmented,” said Frank Maly, director, commercial vehicle transportation analysis and research at ACT Research.

“Dry vans and reefers have seen the majority of order volume in recent months, and those OEMs are struggling to increase production to meet surging fleet demand. Vocational trailer categories are not seeing the investment commitment occurring in the general freight and temperature-controlled segments.

Refrigerated trailers are assembled at Utility's Clearfield, Utah plant.
(Photo: Utility Trailer)

“Large fleets continue to drive the market. Indications are that small and medium fleets continue to struggle to recover from the impact of the 2020 Covid-related market gyrations and are now being impacted by both driver shortages and scant new equipment availability.”

Components that are short in supply include castings, forgings, sheet metal, wood, and tires.

“Many of the vendors for these items, excluding wood, are seeing strong demand from the truck side of the CV market as well, and these limitations have tempered our forecasts,” Maly said.

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