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Trailers Are No Joke. How That Subindustry Is Doing

June 19, 2021


When the orders for trailers were coming in, they were hot and on fire. But nowadays, the ordering fanaticism has kind of slowed down. This is mainly due to manufacturers being straight-up and honest about not being able to place bookings they could not build. Certainly, next year will be an entirely different story. In which case, the market’s topsy-turvy. According to FTR Transportation Intelligence vice president of commercial vehicles, Don Ake, “the bucket for 2021 orders is almost full, but the bucket in 2022 is essentially empty,” which is to say that 2022 orders are going to shoot past near-record levels.

Net trailer orders are totalling out towards 8,676 units. This is downwards 40% from what it was like in April, which essentially was 165% higher than what was seen in the COVID landscape of May’s 2020. FTR had seen trailer orders at 9,500 units, 42% underneath April. There were also Year-by-year comparisons that skyrocketed to 112%. And at this point everyone is just waiting for the inevitable trailer bubble to burst. Just ask Chris Hammond, who’s the executive vice president of sales at Great Dane. When being interviewed by a centric-publication, he mentioned that labor participation was really taking a deeper blow.

You simply can’t do away with the demand. It’s supplying the needs for demands however. There was also a waiting game for commodity material, such as steel and aluminum.

What other challenges face trailers?

For trailers, another improvement shows that backlog-to-build rates to 9.1 months as of May. The whole industry, however, is sold out through next March. Dry vans went and extended April and May respectively.

There are weaker order numbers as is suggested by some fleets. This cannot be helped as the requirements are due to extended lead times. Experts keep saying that freight growth is still stronger than ever. But the environment is going to take a while to recover.

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