Many of the factors driving trailer demand are the same ones that influence Class 8 demand.
At a high level, the Class 8 demand drivers focus on demand-side factors impacting activity. Some of those drivers include:
- The relationship between the economy, freight creation, and new-vehicle demand.
- Shippers and technology driving transportation productivity.
- The relationship between new demand and carrier profitability.
- Regulatory impacts: While some are Class 8 specific, regulatory changes span the gamut, with many non-emissions-related regulations impacting equipment cycle timing.
In short, the key drivers of the US trailer market are two-fold: the need for goods to be hauled and the carrier profitability that will allow them to purchase trailers, and per the preceding comments the tractors, to move those goods.
The challenges the US trailer industry faces currently are from the supply side, driven by unpredictable costs, availability and timing of input parts and materials, as well as labor shortages in some areas of the country. Since the pandemic, improvements have been made in supply-chain constraints, but presently US trailer makers are telling ACT they see no significant near-term solution, and while demand remains strong, the industry’s ability to meet that demand is being hampered by these production constraints.