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Demand expected to rise for trucks and trailers, says ACT Research

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
September 13, 2010

Citing strong second quarter earnings performances for publicly traded truckload carriers as a driver, increased demand for heavy duty vehicles and trailers is expected, according to ACT Research Inc., a provider of data and analysis for trucks and other commercial vehicles.

In ACT’s most recent release of the ACT North American Commercial Vehicle Outlook, the firm is calling for full-year production of Class 8 vehicles to be up 26 percent—at roughly 150,000 vehicles—over 2009, with solid growth into 2011, too. ACT also said that commercial trailer production will increase by 47 percent this year.

“Based on our modeling and anecdotal evidence from truckers, it seems like the supply-demand imbalance, which has been tilted away from truckers for the last four years, has gone back to truckers…and we don’t see that abating,” said Ken Vieth, ACT partner and senior analyst, in an interview. “This makes things worse for shippers and better for truckers in coming quarters.”

At current levels, Vieth said truck and trailer production is positioned to ramp up as fast as demand is. And with capacity still tight and current fleets aging in conjunction with a potential stretch of increased truckload earnings there could be some staying power for future truck production, he said.

ACT reported last month that unit sales for used commercial vehicles were up 43 percent year-over-year in July. ACT noted that average truck prices continued to move slightly higher even though there was a modest increase in average age and miles of sold units.

“The average mileage of used Class 8 trucks sold in July rose above trend due to a higher than average number of older trucks being wholesaled,” said Steve Tam, vice president-commercial vehicle sector with ACT, in a statement. “Anecdotal evidence suggests a shortage of late model, low mileage equipment. This trend will likely continue for several more months until new truck purchases increase and bring in equipment that sat idle during the economic slowdown,” added Tam.

ACT reported last week in its most recent edition of “State of the Industry: U.S. Trailers” that dry van trailers in July were up 134 percent year-over-year, while net orders in July—at 10,688—were 9 percent below June levels.

About the Author

Jeff Berman headshot
Jeff Berman
Group News Editor

Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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