Trucking's bridge

America's fleets have never been so full of older trucks and that reality is driving up the truck leasing and rental business just as it is new truck sales. It is not only about adding capacity, however, or about the need to reduce operating costs. For many fleets, leasing or renting equipment also offers a way to conserve capital for other investments in a recovering market and to lower the cost

America's fleets have never been so full of older trucks and that reality is driving up the truck leasing and rental business just as it is new truck sales. It is not only about adding capacity, however, or about the need to reduce operating costs. For many fleets, leasing or renting equipment also offers a way to conserve capital for other investments in a recovering market and to lower the cost and risk of testing new technologies.

“The rental and leasing business is really growing,” Bill Toerpe, vice president-national sales for Ryder, told Fleet Owner. “Companies are using rentals to bridge to the future.”

“Fleet aging is driving the lease and rental business up,” noted Christopher Maccio, director of sales for Paccar Leasing Co. “Our business was up [very significantly] in the first quarter. Our franchises are buying rental equipment to meet the growing demand for low mileage rental trucks. The growth in rentals is a good early indicator of economic growth. Rentals are great for dealing with upsurges.”

“Companies are in the growth mode again,” he said, “so they often want to conserve capital. That is another reason they are choosing to rent or lease now. It allows them to focus on their core business and use available capital there rather than [tying it up in equipment].”

Carriers are also leasing or renting equipment as a lower-risk, lower-cost way to try new technologies. “Leasing or renting equipment gives customers the opportunity to utilize new engine equipment, both SCR (selective catalytic reduction) and ERG-only (exhaust gas recirculation) options,” noted Toerpe. “It also gives them the opportunity to try out alternative power options.”

Like Ryder, PacLease is seeing a surge of interest in alternative power for trucks. “Customers have to find solutions that meet their operation's needs and deliver a solid ROI,” Maccio said. “There is a new interest in natural gas power, for instance, both LNG for longer hauls and CNG for day cabs and shorter hauls.”

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