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Supply Chain Industry Updates

Freight Trailer Orders Entered 2021 in High Gear

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iStock/BIG_TAU

Say what you will about 2020, there were at least a few positive trends brewing when our calendars switched over to 2021. ACT Research even goes so far as to say the past year “wasn’t all bad … it was [only] one-quarter bad.”

That (very) cautiously optimistic assessment referred to certain trends in the transportation and commercial vehicle markets. It took into account for-hire indices, the U.S. trailer market, used truck sales and the overall U.S. economy, ACT explained.

“The shock and magnitude of the second-quarter economic decline was without precedent in post-World War II history, forcing a reach to the Great Depression for parallels,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT president and senior analyst. “But the remarkable rebound of the economy and in truck freight began in the summer and gained momentum into autumn. Even during the worst of the trough in April and May, we forecast a second-half rebound.”

Vieth said that forecast proved to be accurate. “But the slope of the recovery’s path, and the speed and strength of the freight rebound — and the associated skyrocketing of freight rates — caught us off guard,” he added. “The lessons we learned from underestimating the market snapback are important in the formation of our current view. Some of the impacting factors in the second half of 2020 included the capacity squeeze, the goods-for-services substitution, expanded migration to e-commerce, low fuel prices and a housing boom, just to name a few.”

Trailer orders (as seen in the graphic above) in particular ended the year on a positive note, with orders up nearly 150% year-over-year, ACT said. “The industry is now set for a very robust 2021 for dry vans, reefers and flats,” noted Frank Maly, ACT director of commercial vehicle transportation analysis and research. “The 2020 year-end backlog is the third-best in industry history. The challenge for OEMs will be to increase build rates to address” demand.

For details on these trends, truck on over to here.

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