Trucking companies are bumping up orders for new big rigs, anticipating that 2018 will be a banner year for shipping demand.
Trucking fleets ordered 32,900 Class 8 trucks, the kind used on long-haul routes, in November, according to ACT Research, which compiles industry statistics. That was up about 70% from a year earlier. The last two months were also the strongest since the start of 2015.
Fleets are adding capacity as strong economic growth fuels surging volumes of freight through the nation’s transportation networks. Trucks are in high demand to carry record imports from ports to distribution centers, move machine parts and heavy goods for manufacturers and merchandise during the holiday shopping season. Shippers are paying higher rates as capacity tightens, creating an incentive to put more trucks on the road.
“We’re seeing a lot of volume…and rates are following suit,” said Eric Fuller, chief executive of trucking company U.S. Xpress Enterprises Inc. “I think with increased rates people are feeling a bit more comfortable buying additional trucks.”