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ACT Research: Trailer Order Season Continues to Show Strong Bookings

November 27, 2023, 07:00 AM
Filed Under: Trucking

Peak order season opened in September, and October net orders continued to show strong bookings. However, cancellations in some segments remain elevated, despite healthy backlogs. On balance, two solid months of orders are not enough for us to say, “sunny skies ahead,” particularly when freight markets continue their bounce along the bottom and carrier profits remain at a low ebb, according to this month’s issue of ACT Research’s State of the Industry: U.S. Trailers report.

October net orders, at 35,300 units, were 26 percent higher y/y, and 4,000 units more than were booked in September.

“Historically, 35 percent of the year’s orders are booked in Q4, so the quarter’s seasonal factors run roughshod on the nominal data. Seasonally adjusted, October’s orders fell to 26,200 units. On that basis, instead of rising from September, orders decreased 9 percent m/m,” said Jennifer McNealy, Director–CV Market Research & Publications at ACT Research. “While the last two months’ order intake is a positive sign, what we don’t yet know is for how long this level of deal closing will be sustained in the freight recession that is expected to linger into early 2024.”

McNealy continued, “The industry cancellation rate moderated to 1.2 percent of the backlog in October, from September’s 2.8 percent level, improved but still slightly elevated. And as expected in October, orders outpaced production. As a result, the trailer backlogs grew 5 percent sequentially, but remained lower y/y, down more than 25 percent against 2022’s supply-chain constrained and pent-up demand heavy environment.”

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