The transportation, logistics and distribution equipment provider Wabash today opened an advanced dry van trailer manufacturing facility in Lafayette, Indiana.
Announced in July 2021, the strategic capacity expansion can produce an additional 10,000 dry van trailers annually. The company expects the full impact of this additional capacity to be notably realized in 2024.
Wabash’s new facility features advanced manufacturing technology that improves the worker experience while providing a more repeatable process. Production began several months ago, and once the plant is fully ramped, the company will have doubled production at its Lafayette South Plant with the same facility footprint and workforce.
The conversion of Wabash’s Lafayette-based South Plant from refrigerated trailer capacity to dry van capacity is the largest investment Wabash has made in a single operation in the company’s 38 years.
Wabash’s opening comes the same week that transportation industry analysis firm ACT Research said it had increased its U.S. trailer building forecasts for 2023.
The 2024 forecast is now higher, reflecting higher build in 2023 and 2024, with the economy continuing to outperform expectations, higher GDP and freight forecasts, and more normalized supply chains, the firm said in this quarter’s issue of ACT Research’s Trailer Components & Raw Materials Forecast.
“Build in the last three months (May-July) of 81,700 units was 7% higher than the same three-month period last year, while net orders of 26,300 trailers were about 58% lower for the May-to-July-2023 period, versus the same three months in 2022,” Jennifer McNealy, Director-CV Market Research & Publications at ACT Research, said in a release. “Providing better context for market activity, order backlogs at 157,300 units were 15% lower than the 184,900 units pending production last year.”