Trucking firms turn to junkyards during big-rig shortage


Trucking corporations are turning to junkyards as a nationwide shortage of huge rigs plagues the business, The Post has realized.

Businesses like family-owned Heavy Salvage in Pickens, SC are promoting used truck cabs, trailers and truck components to giant trucking corporations that “historically wouldn’t buy salvage,” vp Andrew King advised The Post. 

Indeed, business executives say the present provide shortage has left trucking corporations with few choices. “Most people who come here have tried everywhere else first,” mentioned an worker at US Truck Parts in Houston, who didn’t need to be recognized. 

Already strained by a driver shortage, the hammered trucking business has to wait greater than a year on common to get new vehicles due to a dearth of semiconductors, in accordance to the American Trucking Associations.

“The equipment shortage is worse than the driver shortage at the moment,” mentioned Don Ake, vp of FTR, an financial and forecasting company overlaying business transportation.

This crushed rig would solely be bought for components, Heavy Salvage’s Andrew King mentioned.
Heavy Salvage
Trailers are tougher to restore and are largely bought for components when they’re broken.
Heavy Salvage
This 18-wheeler could possibly be repaired and put again on the street.
Heavy Salvage

Ake estimates that the business is brief between 85,000 and 100,000 vehicles as the present provide breaks down and corporations can’t discover the components to repair them or new vehicles to exchange them with.

The lack of kit is compounded by surging demand for freight companies as client spending continues to climb.

“Fleets are scouring any and every marketplace for parts, sourcing them from Craigslist, eBay, salvage yards and other fleets,” mentioned Robert Braswell, government director of the ATA’s Technology and Maintenance Council. “We’ve never seen it at such frenetic levels as we are today.”

Andrew King, vp of Heavy Salvage.

Most trucking corporations are detest to admit that they’re rigs that have been in accidents or floods and fires to get an engine that’s nonetheless buzzing or a trailer with a high-tech refrigeration unit. That’s as a result of they worry the general public may assume they’re placing an unsafe automobile on the street. 

But salvage corporations insist there’s no disgrace in turning to them for tools, noting that any salvage automobile is finally inspected by authorities officers for security requirements earlier than it’s put again on the street. 

“There are probably more salvage vehicles on the road than you’d expect,” King mentioned.

King, for his half, sells between 50 and 60 vehicles a day totally on behalf of insurance coverage corporations whose clients have been in accidents and are submitting a declare for the broken automobile.

The insurance coverage corporations contract with Heavy Salvage to recoup the money they’ve to pay out to their coverage holder. Heavy Salvage by no means takes possession of the autos however sells them on its web site to the best bidder. 

Sales at Heavy Salvage elevated by 20% in 2021, King mentioned, whereas salvage gross sales at Willow Springs Missouri-based The Larson Group are up 30% to this point this year, Chief Operating Officer Kory Larson advised The Post.

“Engines are in high demand,” Larson mentioned. “Manufacturers just don’t have the parts right now.”

This trailer could possibly be repaired, King says.
Heavy Salvage

“The maintenance side of the industry has largely been overlooked,” added Steve Keppler, co-director of Scopelitis Transportation Consulting. “The problem is particularly acute because when problems arise, trucks aren’t moving because they can’t get the parts.”

As a outcome, costs for used vehicles and components have skyrocketed.

A truck which may have bought for $25,000 in 2019 can now fetch $50,000, King mentioned. The common used truck bought in November 2021 was 67% dearer than in October, in accordance to an ATA letter to members of Congress.

“We are seeing more demand for trucks that are being rehabilitated versus completely stripped down for parts,” King mentioned.

Truck engines are in “high demand,” mentioned one salvage government.
Heavy Salvage

But some business executives of enormous corporations say they’ve prevented the salvage market as a result of they harvested components from their very own fleets or invested extra closely of their upkeep crew.

Baylor Trucking of Milan, Indiana, usually buys a minimal of fifty new vehicles a year besides in 2021 when the quantity went to zero, President Cari Baylor advised The Post.

The pressure of not getting new vehicles pressured Baylor to take components from “empty” vehicles to use in different vehicles in its fleet.

Insurance corporations are an enormous supply of salvage stock, business specialists mentioned.
Heavy Salvage

“We did that last year, but would not typically do that,” Baylor mentioned.

Chef’s Warehouse, a Bronx-based meals provider to the restaurant business, has held on to its present fleet of vehicles by “being resourceful,” Chief Executive Christopher Pappas mentioned, and beefing up its “maintenance teams to work overtime in ensuring trucks are safe and keeping them on the road.”