Trailers of all shapes and sizes – from dry van and refrigerated models to flatbeds – are undergoing a bevy of changes these days, driven by fleets that are demanding lighter, more durable, yet less costly equipment they can use over much longer ownership cycles than in the past.
Interviews with several major trailer makers also indicated that demand for trailers is increasing, reflecting a growing shortage of equipment available on the used market.
“Big customers are looking for weight savings first and foremost,” noted Hank Prochazka, vice president-sales and marketing for Fontaine Trailers. “Their power equipment has steadily gotten heavier with APUs [auxiliary power units] and new emissions standards while their customers – the shippers – are trying to reduce costs by shipping more tonnage with every load. [The fleet] mindset remains in the commodity purchasing mode (i.e. low price) until they examine what new technology can do for them.”
Prochazka added that fleets today do not have to give up durability to run with lighter trailer equipment, but the up-front purchase cost is higher. That being said, he stresses that some fleets are gaining business with shippers by running lighter trailers that let them offer heavier payloads.
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