Private fleets are currently adding capacity at a faster rate than for-hire fleets, according to the Q2 2013 Fleet Sentiment survey conducted by CK Commercial Vehicle Research. Half of the private fleets participating in the quarterly survey indicated they were adding capacity with the power units they expected to purchase (in the next three months), with an average of more than 40% of those orders designated for that purpose.
For the same time period, a third of for-hire fleets said they were adding capacity, averaging just 6% of power units directed to growing their vehicle population.
Chris Kemmer, principal at CKCVR, noted the correlation between responses to the added capacity inquiry and one asking about driver shortage.
"Based on what our survey participants are telling us, for-hire fleets have a much, much larger problem with a shortage of drivers, so adding capacity is hard. The private fleets in our advisory group generally don't have that issue. They have an incentive to add capacity to be sure their products get shipped and the ability to do so because they can fill the trucks with drivers. We expect the looming hours of service regulation implementation to add to the urgency to solidify hauling capacity."
Other highlights from the survey:
- FSR Buying Index fell to 97.5 from the previous quarter’s reading of 103.8. The Buying Index measures percent of fleets planning to buy medium/heavy duty trucks and trailers along with expected volume of those orders – for the three months following the inquiry. The decline in Q2 was primarily impacted by softer order plans for trucks.
- A majority of fleets responding have sufficient freight demand to meet their fleet capacity. An increasing percentage say they need more equipment
- 42% of respondents are currently fleet testing a product or technology
- Overall environment at the fleets surveyed is good
CKCVR regularly polls a group of small, medium and large for-hire, private and government fleet operators about their equipment purchasing plans and overall fleet environment. Fifty-one fleets participated in the Q2 2013 Fleet Sentiment Survey. They operate more than 35,000 Class 8 trucks and 95,000 trailers. CK Commercial Vehicle Research has been surveying fleets for more than a decade and data reported in the Fleet Sentiment Report tracks activity from 2006.