Truck fleet managers have a daunting job. They are responsible for selecting the right trucks for the job, ensuring the trucks are properly maintained, and selling them for the best price at the end of their fleet useful life, among hundreds of other fleet-related tasks. When it comes to truck maintenance, not one solution will work for every fleet. Where some fleets swear by ensuring all maintenance is kept in-house, others have found the benefits of outsourcing this job, while others find a balance. Work Truck magazine surveyed our readership, including all truck fleet sizes and vocational fleet types, to find out more about what maintenance needs are outsourced, why, and some of the challenges today’s truck fleets face.Related: In-House vs. Outsourced Truck Maintenance
The increasing maturity and stability of trucking technology start-ups is evidenced by a decline in the volume of early-stage deals in 2018 to 1.3% compared to 45% in 2017 and 60% in the prior period 2013–2016.Global funding for trucking technologies touched a record $1 billion in 2017 and has continued to grow in 2018, with increasing investments toward growth.
As of Feb. 1, 2020, all 2015-2017 model-year truck classes experienced an increase in resale values. Class 8, heavy-duty trucks experienced the biggest dip in January 2020 and experienced the biggest rebound in February. Pickups saw the most moderate increase, while Class 6 and Class 7 medium-duty trucks saw some slightly larger month-over-month increases. Values are provided by Black Book, and reflect pricing as of Feb. 1, 2020. Black Book truck prices are updated regularly, and reflect wholesale values gathered from auctions around the country via onsite personnel and data feeds. Retail values are based on market studies.
New truck registrations across the European Union grew by 3.5% last year compared to 2017.Full-year results were diverse among the five key EU markets. France, Italy and Germany posted positive results in 2018, but truck demand fell in the UK and Spain.More 2.6 million commercial vehicles were produced in the European Union in 2018, a big jump since the 2009 47.8% drop in year-over-year numbers.
Carriers in the specialized category saw costs rise by 4 cents per mile to 22 cents per mile between 2016 and 2017. The long-term increase in costs for LTL carriers reflects the pressures of more frequent pickup and delivery operations attributable to the growing influence of e-commerce, in addition to continued deterioration in urban traffic conditions.In addition, fleets saw a 0.3% increase in maintenance costs from 2016 to 2017, the smallest increase since 2010.
As of November 1, 2019, pickup truck values have continued a slow, downward trend since a peak in June 2019. Class 4 trucks saw a slight increase in values while Class 5 and Class 6 trucks experienced a continued decrease in values. Values are provided by Black Book, and reflect pricing as of November 1, 2019. Black Book truck prices are updated regularly, and reflect wholesale values gathered from auctions around the country via onsite personnel and data feeds. Retail values are based on market studies.
As in 2017, for-hire and private fleets account for half of aftermarket parts demand of Class 6-8 trucks and trailers. Both for-hire and private fleets have increased by 4 percentage points and 3 percentage points, respectively. The dealer is the preferred outlet for parts with 49% of aftermarket demand. In 2018, the specialist category increased by 1 percentage point, while the engine channel decreased by 2 percentage points.
Dealers have increased both new and used truck sales by 27% and 36% between 2016 and 2018, respectively. To get a more complete picture of the trade cycle strategies, when those fleets that lease the majority of their equipment were removed, the trade cycles lengthened slightly to 6.8 years (exactly the same as last year’s reported average and up from the previous year’s 6.75 years. Equipment turns averaged 649,000 miles, down from the 665,000 miles reported last year and down from 681,200 miles for this same class of vehicle reported two years ago.
For U.S. Class 8, orders averaged 40,800 units per month in 2018, but for the first half of 2019, just 14,600 per month. Similarly, U.S. trailer orders averaged 35,100 units/mo. in 2018, and have managed just 13,500 units per month in the three months ending May. Much of the weakness in orders in the first half of 2019 is a reflection of the strength in orders in 2018 and the large, filled backlogs at the start of the year. We are just at the point where the order focus will shift to 2020, so weakness from here on out will be more indicative of future activity than the order weakness experienced year to date. Despite the slowdown in orders and falling backlogs, demand for used equipment persists at high levels. In April 2019, average used prices were up nearly 15% from a year earlier. Strength in used equipment, like new equipment, is attributed both to strong carrier profitability tailwinds into 2019 and the rapid improvements in technology and fuel economy that have come into the fleet in the current decade. Replacing an older truck with a fuel-efficient late model truck will help to offset falling freight rates.
The total number of structurally deficient bridges has continued to decrease year-over-year. States with the largest number of structurally deficient bridges are: Iowa (4,675 bridges); Pennsylvania (3,770); Oklahoma (2,540); Illinois (2,273); Missouri (2,116); North Carolina (1,871); California (1,812); New York (1,757); Louisiana (1,678); and Mississippi (1,603). There are 47,052 bridges classified as structurally deficient and considered to be in poor condition as of March 2019.
U.S. business logistics costs, as calculated in CSCMP’s 2019 State of Logistics Report, sponsored by Penske and authored by A.T. Kearney, rose 11.4% in 2018 to reach $1.64 trillion, or 8% of the $20.5 trillion GDP. All subsegments rose to their highest level since 2014, with private and dedicated fleets leading the way, up by 13%. Truckload was up 8.3%, LTL up 7.6%. Parcel was up over 7%, reflecting strong e-commerce growth and pricing power from providers. In addition, a buildup in inventory in the second half of the year drove inventory costs up 14.8%. As e-commerce sales hit $513 billion, nearly 10% of total retail, in 2018, parcel expenditures rose 8.7% to $105 billion. Amazon is training customers to expect ever-faster deliveries, forcing competitors to chase those expectations, while at the same time growing its own transportation network and entering the third-party logistics business. This is sparking a furious pace of last-mile innovation, partnerships, and new technology.
In this report, we present data from 18 of Utilimarc's municipal benchmarking clients, including cities, states, and counties. The report, derived from 52,734 data points, covers vehicle age, mileage, maintenance cost, and labor hours. Data is organized by type of vehicle, including front, side, and rear refuse trucks; sedan and SUV police vehicles; single and tandem dump trucks; light-, medium-, and heavy-duty pickup trucks; and ladder and pumper fire equipment. Each of the numbers presented in this report is an average over the years 2016-2018.
The 2018 update to ATRI’s Analysis of the Operational Costs of Trucking shows that the average marginal cost per mile for fleets rose 6% in 2017 to $1.69, thanks largely to increased fuel and driver costs. Over the nine years of ATRI research, costs have only topped that mark in 2011 and 2015, at around $1.70. Compared to 2017 cost per mile, truck, trailer lease or purchase payments; repair and maintenance; fuel; tires; permits and licenses; and insurance premiums all practically remained flat, while driver benefits increased by 1¢, driver wages by 4¢, and tolls by 1¢.
The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI), based on the amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry, hit an all-time high of 138.7 in November 2018. The Trucking Conditions index tracks changes in the U.S. truck market related to freight volumes, freight rates, fleet capacity, fuel prices, and financing and combines the metrics into a single score. The TCI shows that conditions were extraordinarily strong until Q4, although December 2018 was a strong outlier in a generally stabilizing market.
A longer turnaround time in 2019 of 908 minutes indicates that it is taking longer for any particular load to be accepted for cartage. 2019 has seen a drop of almost 35% in terms of load turnaround time. The DOT currently projects the weight of goods moved by truck to rise by close to 34% by 2045, compared to 2016. The value of goods moved by truck is expected to increase by approximately 66% from 2016.
Although labor issues remain a significant challenge for respondents to the National Private Truck Council's annual survey, they continue to report retention and turnover performance far better than their for-hire colleagues. This year, private fleets reported turnover at 16.9%, up a point and a half over last year’s 15.4% average turnover. The stability of trucking employment over the past 14 years provides some evidence of a tight labor market for truck drivers—the demand for drivers has remained strong while the demand for workers with low levels of education has declined substantially in other sectors. While it appears that truck drivers are at an earnings disadvantage relative to nondriving blue-collar workers, this disadvantage is only evidence of an earnings gap between light or delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers, on the one hand, and blue-collar workers, on the other; point estimates of the earnings of heavy truck drivers exceed those of other blue-collar workers throughout the period.
Annual average wages of heavy tractor-trailor truck drivers by state as of May 2018 can vary from as low as $19,910 in states such as Arkansas and Idaho to as high as $57,630 in states such as California and Texas. As of May 2018, the lowest employment of heavy and tractor-trailer drivers by state occured in just a few states, including Montana, Wyoming, and South Dakota with some of the highest employment occuring in such states as Wisconsin, Georgia, California, and Texas,
The Clean Cities Alternative Fuel Price Report is a quarterly report designed to keep Clean Cities coalitions and other interested parties up to date on the prices of alternative and conventional fuels in the United States. Among applications, total cost of ownership of electric refuse trucks is already lower than diesel vehicles, propelling adoption; electric yard trucks will be adopted owing to purchase subsidies offered in North America currently.
Refrigerated and dry van saw smaller increases in 2017, but a look at the announced Q1 2018 changes indicate a much more aggressive approach for 2018. The median sign-on bonus at fleets tracked by the National Transportation Institute rose across the board, with the biggest difference at flatbed fleets. The Southeast Region showed unusual strength compared to the other regions. Also, there were not enough moves announced by Northeast‐based carriers to report an average move; they were, however, well represented in the Q4 moves.
In 2018, Texas had the highest numer of drivers employed by state with 182,370 but an annual mean wage of $44,260. Pennsylvania came in fourth with 80,810 drivers employed per state, but had the highest annual mean wage of the top five states at $46,150. Private fleets pay higher on average than for-hire fleets, with the Northeast topping the list at $65,796 per year.
The Clean Cities Alternative Fuel Price Report is a quarterly report designed to keep Clean Cities coalitions and other interested parties up to date on the prices of alternative and conventional fuels in the United States. It is estimated that fleets will also achieve an estimated 18% reduction in CO2 emissions and 46% reduction in NOx output when upgrading from a 2012 MY sleeper to a 2019 unit. Fleets can see a first-year savings of $26,687 when upgrading from a 2012 sleeper to a 2019 model, based on diesel prices at $3.29. This is a 7.9% increase in savings compared with a similar analysis of upgrading to a 2017 model when diesel prices were $2.57.
Among the findings related to fuel : The price of crude oil in 2018 increased over 2017, with regular gasoline increasing 10% and diesel only seeing an increase of 1%, according to the DOE's cost breakdown. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, only four countries have lower fuel taxes than the United States: Mexico. Russia, Indonesia, and Brazil. Phase 2 of the heavy-duty truck greenhouse gas emissions and fuel efficiency standards mandated by the EPA and NHTSA are projected to lower CO2 emissions by approximately 1.1 billion metric tons.
Overall, passenger car maintenance costs per unit, per month declined 2.2 percent in 2016. These costs include unscheduled repair services, preventive maintenance (PM), tires, and replacement rentals. This report appeared as an in-depth article in the March 2017 issue of Automotive Fleet.