The need for more truck drivers has become well-known in recent years, resulting in increased career opportunities and earnings potential for new and experienced drivers alike.

But did you know there is also a shortage of trucks for hauling goods, which is also creating challenges throughout the industry?

According to one recent estimate, in May 2018 there were 6.6 loads to be shipped for every one truck available, down from a 10:1 ratio in January. With trucks accounting for 70% of all U.S. freight volume by weight, carriers and shippers alike are feeling the pressure.

Let’s take a look at what’s driving the shortage and how a fleet management strategy can help ensure that you have enough trucks to meet your customers’ needs.

Why Aren’t There Enough Semi Trucks?

Factors ranging from increased freight demand to federal regulations have all contributed to the current shortage of trucks, creating a perfect storm throughout the supply chain.

  • Increased freight. E-commerce increased 16.2% in 2017 to a whopping $453 billion, and carriers were especially overwhelmed with delivery orders for the most recent holiday season. There are simply not enough trucks to meet the current volume of retail and delivery orders, and the backup has continued into 2018.
  • Too few trucks. Temperature-controlled trucks in particular are in short supply, making it harder to transport perishable items like meat, vegetables and medications. Given the production time required to build a new truck, manufacturers are pressed to meet the growing freight demand.
  • ELD mandate. New federal rules require all trucks to be equipped with electronic logging devices (ELDs). Vehicles removed from the road for lacking the required technology will add to the already short supply.
  • Extreme weather. From snowstorms to flooding, weather disasters exacerbate the problem by keeping otherwise-available trucks off the road.

What Are the Consequences of the Truck Shortage?

While the current economic expansion has increased the demand for trucking, a continued shortage has the potential to hurt both fleets and carriers and put a drag on the economy.

When there aren’t enough trucks, orders get delayed, routing becomes inefficient and prices go up throughout the supply chain, eventually getting passed along to the average shopper.

Industries already feeling the heat include auto carriers, retailers, foodservice and food manufacturing firms.

Addressing the Need for More Trucks Using Fleet Management Strategy

Instead of purchasing vehicles on a piecemeal basis, a comprehensive fleet management strategy can help you to respond to the need for more semi-trucks and trailers in your own fleet and know when it’s time to replace aging trucks.

  • Optimize life cycles. Traditionally, carriers have let trucks run until they’re too worn out to drive. But increasingly, data analytic tools let you track the profitability of each individual truck over time, and replace it when the cost of maintenance outstrips the revenue generated. Shorter purchase cycles or leasing agreements can help you implement a more profitable acquisition and replacement strategy.
  • Attract younger drivers with technology. Adding vehicles with advanced technology, such as the fleet-maintained trucks and trailers available at Pedigree, can help in your efforts to attract tech-savvy younger drivers to a career in trucking.
  • Turn to used trucks to balance quality and cost. Recent-model used semi trucks often contain all of the up-to-date equipment you need at a fraction of the cost of a brand new vehicle.

Are you looking to expand your fleet?

Contact Pedigree to learn about our wide selection of trucks and trailers to keep your drivers on the road and your customers satisfied. Our inventory consists of quality used semi-trucks from brands like Freightliner and a variety of trailer types including reefers, tankers, and flatbeds.

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