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Truck Sales Up in Preparation for ELD Capacity Crunch?

Class 8 July Retail Sales Up 8.7%

Class 8 truck sales rose by 8.7% in July, providing the trucking industry with its first year over year gain since 2015, according to this article by Roger Gilroy at Transport Topics. International Trucks played a strong part in the rally with a 27.4% jump with 1,625 trucks sold.

Some in the trucking industry are taking a second look at the ACT (Americas Commercial Transportation) forecast which called for a 5% decline in heavy truck sales for 2017 overall. While ACT admits that the July figures have “closed the gap”, the forecast may have underestimated the impact of the ELD mandates kicking in at the end of the year. Fleets are anticipating a need for more trucks and drivers to compensate for the anticipated reduction in total miles run.

The ELD Capacity Crunch

Fears of a looming capacity crunch in 2018, caused by strict ELD enforcement, have some carriers gearing up now and increasing fleet sizes. Large fleets already using ELD have provided the stats on its effect on operating mileage. ELD use causes a 10% to 20% reduction in ability to run miles says Todd Amen, president of ATBS, a financial services provider for owner-operators. In interviews at Overdrive and supplychaindive.com, Amen predicts that the ELD mandate will cause a shortage, equal to  200,000 to 300,000 trucks taken off the road.

Stronger HOS (hours of service) enforcement with ELDs will require more trucks and drivers to move the same amount of freight. This, coupled with the increased shipping demands of a strong economy forecasted to keep humming right along in 2018, could be a perfect storm in terms of industry hauling capacity.

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