This marks a strategic shift in how Wabash is intentionally building a backlog with strategic customers who are interested in jointly planning demand for a period that looks beyond the next 12 months. In a release, Wabash did not say how long the agreement with Lowell, Arkansas-based J.B. Hunt will last.
“Wabash has undergone substantial change over the last two years to create the right organizational structure to enable this type of strategic progress that positions Wabash to create value at the center of an ecosystem of customers, suppliers, and partners,” said Brent Yeagy, Wabash president and CEO.
“The trailers provided by Wabash over the next few years will help us expand capacity available for services like private fleet outsourcing and drop-and-hook freight,” said Nick Hobbs, COO and president of contract services at J.B. Hunt. “With an additional 15,000-plus trailers, we can improve the efficiency of our equipment so that assets are in the right place at the right time for available drivers. It's essential to our mission of creating the most efficient transportation network in North America.”
This long-term order agreement with J.B. Hunt couples with Wabash’s 10-year aluminum supply agreement with Hydro. That deal is “strategically coordinated to provide certainty that Wabash can meet pent-up demand as its additional dry van capacity comes online in early 2023,” the Wabash statement said.
Despite recent years’ supply chain snags, Wabash is in a position to be able to deliver the trailers it committed to J.B. Hunt as part of the newly announced deal.
The trailer maker’s product manager of dry and refrigerated vans, Nick Clinkenbeard, recently told FleetOwner that Wabash has seen some improvement in delivery over the recent months and that the company’s record third-quarter 2022 revenue of $655.2 million backs that up. The Lafayette, Indiana-based company’s net sales increased 35.8% over the second quarter last year, and total backlog was at $2.3 billion as of Sept. 30, up 20% over Q3 2021.
J.B. Hunt’s recent deal-making didn’t start with this week's deal with Wabash. Last year, J.B. Hunt agreed to pay $87 million for the trucking subsidiary of furniture maker Bassett Furniture Industries. The cash deal for Zenith Freight Lines added to J.B. Hunt’s final-mile business. J.B. Hunt also recorded its best quarter ever in the third quarter of 2022 with net income for Q3 of $269 million, a 35% increase over Q3 2021.