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080719 pacific truck colors truck-maintenance.jpg Photo: Pacific Truck Colors

Key product availability and cost trends

In a recent blog, I focused on trends affecting the trucking industry. In this blog post, I want to look at trends in several product categories that are having an impact on trucking.

Rob Garcia, senior vice president of supply management at NationaLease, shared his insights into these product trends at a recent NationaLease meeting. Changes in these products and components can have a significant impact on the cost to maintain and repair vehicles.

  • Tire market: The price of tire-related commodities is rising and there also are some concerns about availability going forward. The main drivers of the price increase are oil-based materials such as synthetic rubber, carbon black and many chemicals. In addition, transportation costs for these commodities has risen. Tire manufacturers have adopted an in-country production strategy for tires thereby expanding domestic capacity. There have been some hints of product limitations.
  • Lubricants market: Significant price pressure has been thwarted by temporary plant shut downs and production reductions. Base oil prices are rising but so far lubricant manufacturers have not implemented price increases. Lubricant manufacturers continue to encourage the use of synthetic oil.
  • Industrial metals: The moderate U.S. dollar and emerging markets continue to put pressure on commodity prices. Tariff offsets include copper, aluminum, iron ore, tin, zinc, nickel, and lead. The metals price index is up 7% year to date and 47% over the past three years.
  • Maintenance: Parts, service and maintenance will experience an additional 5% to 10% growth by 2020. As mentioned in a previous blog, a secondary service network for PMs, tire maintenance and replacement parts has developed.

I encourage you to stay educated on developments in these key products and components. Changes in availability and price will have a direct impact on your ability to get the repair and maintenance products you need and can add to the cost of maintenance.

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