40306398 | Vitpho | Dreamstime
Semi Truck 40306398 Vitpho Dreamstime

Industry trends to watch

Nov. 22, 2021
By staying on top of market developments, fleets can make adjustments to help keep their operations running profitably.

With everything going on in the trucking industry, between supply chain disruptions and the explosion of new technologies coupled with events in the economy, I was happy that Rob Garcia, SVP of supply management at Corcentric, and Sean Storey, VP of capital equipment at Corcentric, shared their list of key industry trends at a recent NationaLease meeting.

Here are some things to watch:

  • Evolving logistics models: Ecommerce and omnichannel marketing are prompting many fleets to get into last-mile delivery and are changing freight patterns for trucking. “Freight Share” brings on-demand load-sharing technologies to the freight market, and we are starting to see a transportation-as-service model develop.
  • Changes to parts, maintenance, and repair: We are seeing sourcing moving outside of the traditional OEM dealer network. The complexity of modern EPA compliant vehicles has necessitated a secondary service network for PM, tire maintenance, replacement parts, and extended maintenance procedures.
  • Changes to underride guards: Congress is looking at requiring underride guards on trailers, semi-trailers, and single-unit trucks that weigh more than 10,000 lb.
  • Legislation of safety measures: Look for legislation on safety-related components, including blind-spot warning, driver cameras, over-the-air speed trimming and assisted braking, among others. These may all become standard as a way to help reduce the number of collisions.
  • Emissions standards for model year 2027 vehicles: These standards require at least 25% lower carbon dioxide emissions and fuel consumption than a 2017 model year tractor. The rule requires engines to achieve reductions in carbon dioxide emissions and fuel consumption that are 5.1% better than the 2017 baseline. The rule also requires engines to reduce emissions 4.2% by 2024.
  • Developments in hydrogen fuel cell and battery electric vehicles: Existing truck makers and new entrants have committed to furthering the development and deployment of battery electric vehicles. Many states have issued aggressive climate goals that will further speed the development of these alternative fueled vehicles.

Garcia and Storey also shared some thoughts on trends they are seeing for certain product categories:

  • Tires: A shortage of natural rubber is occurring, which will lead to rising tire prices. In addition, for oil-based materials, including synthetic rubber, carbon black and other chemicals, transportation costs are the main drivers behind price increases. Tire manufacturers are adopting an “in-country” production strategy to expand domestic capacity to counteract global shipping limitations.
  • Lubricants: Additive shortages, global shipping challenges, and reduction in products are leading to significant increases in the price of lubricants. Lubricant manufacturers are continuing to pursue synthetic oil adoption by consumers to add stability to raw materials and production.
  • Industrial metals: Prices for copper, aluminum, iron ore, nickel, zinc, lead and uranium continue to rise. In 2021, the metal price index is up 22% year to date.
  • Maintenance: We are seeing a rapid growth in maintenance and repair as fleet utilization rates are high. This is resulting in increased roadside repairs, parts shortages, tech shortages, parts inflation, and replacement truck shortages.

While you might not be able to do anything to stop these trends, staying on top of market developments allows you to make adjustments that can help keep your fleet running profitably. 

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