March net U.S. trailer orders of 37,901 units increased more than 40 percent from the previous month and were nearly 28 percent higher compared to March of 2021, according to ACT Research’s State of the Industry: U.S. Trailer Report.
Before accounting for cancellations, new orders of 38,400 grew about 37 percent versus February, but expanded only about 16 percent from the previous March.
“While total net orders jumped 40 percent month over month in March, the strength was dry van-centric. A 71 percent sequential surge in dry van net orders accounted for 96 percent of the total industry month-over-month gain,” says Frank Maly, ACT director–CV Transportation Analysis and Research. “On a year-over-year basis, net orders were up 28 percent, with a similar story to the monthly results. Dry vans, joined by reefers, provided more than the full market improvement, while the other eight trailer categories totaled 1,100 lower on a year-over-year basis.”
Regarding the backlog-to-build ratio, Maly says, “With OEMs rapidly filling available 2022 production slots — both dry van and reefer BL/BU stretch into December at current build rates — we expect orders and production to travel in lockstep until 2023 orderboards officially open. When that occurs, fleets likely will rush to formalize commitments that are already under discussion and negotiation.”