Avondale reports record low fleet failures in 2011Q3
November 1, 2011
The lean times can officially said to be over for truckers as the pace of fleet failures dropped to a record low during the third quarter, with only 85 fleets closing their doors.
Donald Broughton, senior research analyst with Avondale Partners, tracks how many fleets went out of business and the number of trucks that those businesses accounted for. In the third quarter of 2011, a record low of 85 fleets failed. This is a drop of 155 fleets compared to the previous quarter and is down 245 versus Q3 in 2010. The average fleet size has remained relatively unchanged for the last 3 quarters, at 17 trucks per fleet in Q3, but is well down from the highs recorded during the 2008-2009 time frame.
Only 1,470 trucks were removed in the quarter. This ekes just below the previous record low at the end of 2004. The number of trucks removed has fallen for 5 straight quarters. The number peaked at over 46,000 trucks in the second quarter of 2008. It had a later mini-peak in early 2010 at just under 35,000 trucks.
The fuel drag that occurred during parts of Q1 and Q2 did not have a material effect on fleet failures. The corresponding fuel decline, however, probably did help lower the figure to its record low levels in Q3. Also helping are the relatively high used equipment values and strong capacity fundamentals - despite the relatively weaker freight environment that we have been experiencing. The fuel spike of 2008 and the following Great Recession did a pretty good job of weeding out the bad fruit. We don’t expect every quarter to be quite this low, but it will stay at traditionally low levels. As capacity continues to stay tight going into 2012, we expect the number of trucks removed to remain near its historical floor of around 300 fleets per quarter and 5,000 units per quarter.
NOTE: Historical data is sourced from Avondale Partners.
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