It’s an inverted world in the truck and trailer market. It is not corporate demand, but limited production and long delivery times for new equipment that drives the market. This means that Dutch sales of new trucks will remain in the trough in 2022 and will not increase again until next year, despite a full order book. This is stated in the new Assetvision trucks and trailers from ING Research. New trailers are also delivered much later than usual due to production restrictions. In addition, the sharply higher prices of equipment further increase the cost of transportation, which is passed on to customers such as supermarkets. Meanwhile, zero-emission urban transport is getting closer and the production of electric trucks is gradually starting, but transport companies are postponing new investments due to higher costs and uncertainty about the necessary charging infrastructure.
Manufacturer production controls the truck and trailer market
The truck and trailer market is affected by production shortages among manufacturers due to shortages of chips and other parts such as cable networks. Delivery times for trucks and trailers have increased to one year, and truck manufacturers are reluctant to make promises and sometimes even have a temporary order stop. As a result, the number of registrations of new trucks in 2022 will not recover, and despite a full order book in the Netherlands, it will remain below 12,000. This is well below the average for the third year in a row. Without restrictions, sales of new trucks were at least 20% higher. The sale of trailers is also held back by production restrictions, although the producers there are less affected by the shortage of chips.
Lack of driver hampers companies, lack of equipment is added
Carriers are facing an increasing shortage of drivers. It is now an obstacle for half of the companies. When investing, companies are now also looking at whether they can deploy the drivers. Due to the long delivery times, lack of equipment is now also a bottleneck for more and more companies. The fact that the fleet is used less efficiently due to smaller shipments in the country, longer waiting times in ports (Brexit, congestion) and European rules for periodic (empty) return of trucks registered abroad increase the capacity shortage.
New equipment significantly more expensive, which pushes up transport costs further
Newly ordered trucks are about 15-25% more expensive than before the pandemic due to higher raw material prices and undercapacity, and trailers have risen slightly more in price. This contributes to the significantly higher fuel costs and higher wages, which in the competitive road transport market are largely passed on to customers in the supermarket sector, among others. The extreme market situation is a reason for carriers to allow existing equipment to continue to run where possible.
Sales and inflows of zero-emission trucks are going (too) slowly
From 2025, 30 to 40 Dutch cities will introduce zero-emission urban transport. There is still a transition phase until 2030, but with the trucks’ investment horizon, 2030 is also close. Several dealers have already taken the first electric trucks into use, but the number of emission-free trucks will increase from the current 232 to 11,500 over the next 7.5 years. Currently, companies are postponing the acquisition due to the significantly higher costs per kilometers and the necessary charging infrastructure on site. Series production of electric cars will probably not start until 2025. Realization of complete zero-emission urban transport in 2030 is important for the CO2 targets, but the feasibility is uncertain due to the preconditions.
Machiel Bode: sector banker transport & logistics: “We would like to see a full electric fleet for deliveries to inner cities as soon as possible, but if rapid growth proves impossible, then the plug-in hybrid truck could provide an emission-free backup for the time being. truck is more flexible and can be used with greater capacity and shorter loading time for the group of carriers who visit the city less intensively, making it more attractive. “