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TRAILER TALK

I recently had the opportunity to tour Utility Trailer’s Clearfield, Utah plant, where it constructs its refrigerated trailers. The tour itself was interesting, as Utility employs several unique manufacturing processes that address...


Trailers are assembled at Utility's Clearfield, Utah plant.
Trailers are assembled at Utility's Clearfield, Utah plant.

I recently had the opportunity to tour Utility Trailer’s Clearfield, Utah plant, where it constructs its refrigerated trailers. The tour itself was interesting, as Utility employs several unique manufacturing processes that address everyday issues such as corrosion and temperature control. I followed up the plant tour with an interview with Craig Bennett, senior v.p. of sales and marketing with Utility. You can find that interview in its entirety in the December issues of Truck News and Truck West. But for now, I thought I’d share his thoughts on the trailer industry in general. I asked Craig how the industry is fairing and why it seems order activity is up and down like a yo-yo in recent months. Over to you, Craig…

“The market generally gets softer seasonally in late summer, then a little stronger in the fall. We had a typical seasonal slowdown in the late summer, July and August, and it got better in September and a little better in October, but it’s not as good as we’d like to see it and it’s not as good as we were hoping it would be.

“I would classify it as okay. In the trailer industry, we are all operating at very high production output levels and it’s always challenging to maintain those levels with new order intake, once you get the crews built up. That’s the challenge we all have. A 240,000-250,000 trailer year would be a good year by any measure – not a great year, but a good year – and that’s probably where we’re at. We don’t see that changing a lot.

“There’s a lot of activity, with people looking at stuff going into next year, but with so much uncertainty relative to the health care law, and new regulations that face trucking, for-hire carriers especially are challenged in their ability to make new equipment acquisitions. They’re having difficulty paying for all the new higher-priced trucks and higher-priced refrigeration units. Even the trailers cost a little bit more – not a lot – but passing the costs along in an environment like we have today, where we’re only growing at 1-2% GDP, is difficult.”


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