Unprecedented demand for new trailers – mostly from the US – has pushed out build times to anywhere from four to eight months, causing many fleets to consider other options to meet their immediate trailer needs. As a result, dealer inventories across Canada have been bought up as fleets resorted to buying stock trailers off dealer lots and quality used trailers are becoming more difficult to find.

Even rental trailers are in short supply. As one example, Trailer Wizards, with its 22,500 trailers across its national network, is running at an unprecedented utilization rate of 92%, according to Mark Diamantopoulos. I spoke with Mark and other trailer dealers while researching a feature that will run in the January issue on how strong demand for new trailers is affecting production times and availability of used and stock trailers here in Canada.

Trailer dealers did their best to anticipate current demand, and stocked up accordingly, but it still wasn’t enough.

“We brought in more stock this year than any year in the past – almost 30% more – and at the time I thought, how are we going to sell all this gear?” said George Cobham Jr. of Glasvan Great Dane. “Starting in February, it just turned right on.”

Fleets looking to add new trailers in 2015 should consider getting their orders in early and can expect on longer than usual build times. The trailer industry this year has seen some massive orders. As one example, Prime Inc. placed an order for 2,500 trailers with Utility, marking the manufacturer’s largest ever single order.

Nick Lambevski, president of Transport Trailer Sales, told me some better planning is required from carriers – especially the smaller ones. If they have a small trailer pool to begin with and land some new business, they could find themselves in a situation where they can’t find the trailers needed to service the new contract.

“Customers are being forced to assess their 2015 trailer requirements well ahead of time to ensure that they have equipment available to them for the coming year,” said Tom Ramsden, sales and marketing v.p. with Manac.

As mentioned, more on this can be found in the January issues of Truck News and Truck West, which will be out Friday.

James Menzies is editor of Today's Trucking. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 18 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at james@newcom.ca or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies.

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