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Trailer orders grow as orders open, fall below last year

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Jason Morgan is the content director of Fleet Equipment. He has more than 15 years of B2B journalism experience covering the likes of trucking and construction equipment, real estate, movies and craft beer industries.

Trailer orders rose nearly 126% from the previous month, but were more than 45% lower compared to September of 2020, according to the latest numbers from ACT Research, which has 28,127 units for the month. Before accounting for cancellations, new orders of 32,400 units were up almost 140% versus August, but 38% lower than the previous September. Year-to-date, net orders for the first nine months of 2021 were up 11%, while new orders grew 8% compared to the same time period in 2020, which included the COVID-stricken spring data.

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“September total net trailer orders grew mainly as the result of a 268% month-over-month surge in dry van orders for the month, as some 2022 orderbooks were very cautiously cracked open,” said Frank Maly, director of commercial vehicle transportation analysis and research at ACT Research. “It appears that OEMs are being extremely careful regarding acceptance of additional orders, although the caution is more centered in the higher-volume dry van, reefer, and flatbed categories.

“Dry van and reefer OEMs are trying to walk a very delicate line, setting their pricing in a very challenging inflationary environment while also balancing production commitments with component and material availability and staffing concerns,” Maly added. “Staffing seems to have become a more challenging issue for the industry. Adds to staff are very difficult, while consistent attendance of existing staff is also reported to be problematic.”

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