ACT Research trailer report finds carriers with 'reduced willingness to invest in equipment'

ACT Research trailer report finds carriers with ‘reduced willingness to invest in equipment’

ACT Research says limited capex and companies saving money to meet EPA regulations are currently weighing on trailer demand.

According to ACT Research, February net trailer orders, at 20,500 units were nearly 21% lower year-over-year, but 6,600 units above January’s intake. Weak freight rates continue to reduce carriers’ willingness to invest in equipment, ACT said.

“Seasonally adjusted, February’s orders fell to 20,100 units compared to a 12,600 seasonally adjusted rate in January,” said Jennifer McNealy, director of commercial vehicle market research and publications at ACT Research. “On that basis, orders increased 59% month-over-month. Dry van orders contracted 18% y/y, with reefers and flats both down 31% compared to February 2023.”

“Total cancellations took a turn for the better in February, dropping to 1.3% of the backlog, from January’s elevated 3.2% rate,” she added. “Several markets remained above the 1% mark, with OEMs indicating cancellations from both fleets and dealers. Clearly, no one needs a higher trailer-to-tractor ratio or extra stock on the showroom floor in a market swimming in capacity.”

“The good news is that healthy economic performance is increasingly favoring freight-generating economic sectors,” McNealy concluded. “However, capex remains limited at the start of 2024, and with impending expensive EPA regulations for power units, fleets are forced to make difficult decisions about how they spend their money, weighing on trailer demand.”

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