Fleets Wary of Equipment Purchases

While motor carriers appear ready to replace their aging fleets, they have less appetite to expand their fleet capacity, according to the Business Expectation Survey for the fourth quarter of 2010 from Transport Capital Partners, LLC (TCP). Fewer fleets are planning capacity increases than a quarter ago, with 41% saying they have no plans to add capacity, up from 34% last quarter, noted Richard Mikes, TCP partner. A quarter of the carriers surveyed plan to add only 1 to 5%.

“Carriers have stifled expansion appetites because of increased equipment costs, looming driver shortages, and poor financial returns,” Mikes said. “These acquisition plans are principally replacements for aging fleets, but expected freight volume increases have acquisition plans ramping up modestly.”

Carriers did indeed report plans for higher acquisition rates. Forty percent surveyed this quarter said they would acquire or replace more than 10% of their fleet compared to only 30% in the last survey. “Most carriers have not purchased new equipment for some time and the pool of used equipment has been diminished by exports and scrapage [sic], while fleet utility is picking up,” noted Lana Batts, TCP Partner.

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