- Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings’ trailers generally increased by 1.6 years to a weighted average age of 9.9 years at the end of 2022, an annual report showed.
- Last year’s increase was a significant jump from the norm in recent years. Prior to 2022, the fleet's weighted average typically rose by less than half a year. The latest change involved nearly 75,000 trailers in the company’s truckload segment.
- “Changes in the current market for used tractors and trailers, regulatory changes, and difficult market conditions faced by tractor and trailer manufacturers ... have recently resulted in constrained availability of revenue equipment,” the carrier noted in the latest annual report, filed Feb. 23.
Knight-Swift trailers are aging more quickly
|Year||Average trailer age||Trailers|
SOURCE: Annual reports. The average is weighted for its truckload segment. The 2022 annual report also changed the 2021 figure to 8.3 years.
Knight-Swift CFO Adam Miller, in talking about selling used equipment, spoke on the issue during an earnings call in January. “OEMs have still been challenged to fill everyone's orders,” he said, “And I think most of the large carriers have continued to age their fleet out.”
Other carriers have seen equipment age amid high demand and OEM challenges to reduce backlogs. P.A.M. Transport noted its orders in 2022 weren’t entirely filled, and Heartland Express had its trailers' age nearly double last year.
Trucking fleets' woes come amid demand for new equipment, where manufacturers are seeking to reduce their order backlogs. But analysts predict the trend may have reached its worst point last year. DAT Freight & Analytics said in an annual outlook manufacturing conditions seem ripe for improvement in 2023.
“Trailer orderboards are still tight with extraordinary demand,” DAT said in the outlook, “but backlog/build ratios have shortened recently on higher build rates, so capacity looks to improve [in 2023].”