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Trucking news: ACT reports preliminary February Class 8 orders are slightly down but in good shape

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
March 02, 2012

Data released today from ACT Research, a provider of data and analysis for trucks and other commercial vehicles indicated that Class 8 commercial vehicle preliminary net orders for February will come in around 22,500 units.

Final numbers are expected in mid-March.

ACT Vice President and Senior Analyst Kenny Vieth said in a statement that this number was incrementally below expectations but noted that healthy backlogs and strong orders over the previous four months support the firm’s 2012 forecasts.

In an interview with LM, Vieth said that ACT’s expectations for monthly orders should be in the neighborhood of 25,000 per month through the first quarter.

“This number is not that far away from 25,000; the previous four months averaged about 26,000 from October to January,” he said. “The industry backlog is at a healthy level and while February is down a little bit it is not down enough to take away from the fact that the industry is sitting on a large backlog right now.”

And in conversations with carriers Vieth said that carriers are feeling very good about their business relative to capacity, coupled with the expectation that rate increases will continue throughout 2012.

On the flip side, he noted that shippers have told ACT they are “very concerned” about the growing capacity shortfall, especially if the economic recovery comes occurs at a higher level than expected.

“If you look at orders or even retail sales going back four or five years, the data is very linear or smooth and follows a consistent pattern, as orders on a month-to-month basis are somewhat variable,” said Vieth. “You can have a 5,000-to-10,000 order swing from month-to-month. The fact that we were a little bit below expectations in February does not necessarily mean things are terrible.”

About the Author

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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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