Though commercial trailer factory shipments of 8,296 units this past December were the highest monthly total in 2009, for the entire year, trailer shipments were off 44% year-over-year and the lowest level since 1978, according to ACT Research Co. (ACT).
In its latest “State of the Industry: U.S. Trailers” report, ACT indicated that almost every category of trailer factory shipments posted the lowest recorded levels in 30 to 50 years, with only the reefer van sector holding up relatively well. December net orders for commercial trailers were up 140% from depressed levels in December 2008, but slightly below the 2009 monthly average.
“Reaching a 32-year low required not only the worst economic downturn in generations, but also the impact of trailer tracking technology on trailer productivity and utilization,” said Kenny Vieth, partner and senior analyst with ACT Research. “On a more positive note, inventories reached a new four-year low, a prerequisite for improvement in production rates.”