ACT Research notes significant drop in U.S. trailer orders for May

ACT Research notes significant drop in U.S. trailer orders for May

May net trailer orders fell about 46% y/y, while ytd net order activity is down 25% from the same period in 2023.

At 6,100 units, May net trailer orders in the U.S. were down approximately 46% y/y, and 7,650 units below April’s intake, according to ACT Research. According to ACT, this brings the year-to-date net order activity to 68,200 units, down 25% from the same period in 2023.

“Seasonally adjusted, May’s orders were roughly 7,200 units compared to a 17,300 seasonally adjusted rate in April,” said Jennifer McNealy, director of commercial vehicle market research and publications at ACT Research. “On that basis, orders decreased 59% month over month. Demand for dry vans contracted 85% year over year, while orders for refrigerated units, while still low, were an improvement from last May’s negative net order tally.

“Flats were 37% lower compared to May 2023,” McNealy added. She noted that total cancellations in May increased with the cancellation rate rising to 3.2% of the backlog, compared to just 1.5% in April. She added that cancellations were recorded from multiple fleets and dealers.

McNealy concluded, “In this capex constrained environment, with an expensive EPA mandate due in 2027, fleet willingness to spend on trailers is under increasing pressure. Plus, overstocked dealer inventories that are proving harder to move and the absence of a need for carriers to boost trailer-tractor ratios in the short term, as capacity remains plentiful and spot market volumes and rates are under pressure from private fleet capacity expansions, are proving to be a challenging part of the cycle for the U.S. trailer industry.”

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