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Uncovered: the real numbers behind Australia’s trailer fleet Part 1

As anyone in the transport industry knows – trucks and trailers are two completely different beasts. To the person in the street, the number of trucks on the road is a fair indication of the number of trailers on the road. But there’s much more to it.

How many trucks and trailers are on our roads?

While the Truck Industry Council (TIC) keeps a close eye on the number of truck registrations, the true size of the national trailer fleet has historically been shrouded in mystery, with fleet owners closely guarding their own fleet details and official figures being hard to find or widely misinterpreted.

In this two-part series, we’ll take a look at some recently released statistics that show for the first time, the number, median age and country of manufacture of the trailers that make up our national transport fleet.

In 2014, the Australian Road Transport Suppliers’ Association (ARTSA), together with the National Exchange of Vehicle and Driver Information System (NEVDIS) decided to make a concerted effort to interpret the national heavy vehicle registration data – with the aim of separating out the trailer information.

The results of this collaboration, which uses data compiled over the last two years, is the most accurate picture yet of the road transport landscape.

The findings

The key findings of the report include:

  • The annual growth rate for semi-trailers over the past eight quarters was 2%
  • Dog trailers (a trailer that is towed behind the lead trailer) performed slightly better at 2.8%
  • Pig trailers (a load carrying trailer with its axle group near its centre) saw negative growth of -1.5%
  • The median age of the Australian trailer fleet is 11.6 years, considered to be among the oldest in the developed world
  • Lead trailers – used in B-doubles – are the workhorses of the long-haul transport industry
  • Approximately 95% of all trailer VINs indicate that they are Australian-made trailers
  • The number of heavy vehicles being retired (or de-registered) in 2015 increased by 37% over the 2014 figure.
  • Of these vehicles being retired, trailers saw a 72% increase in retirements.

What does it mean?

It doesn’t take a genius to see that there has been a heavy contraction in the total heavy vehicle registrations from 2014 to 2015. So where to from here?  What do these numbers mean for fleet owners? Drivers? Consumers? In our second of this two-part series, we’ll take a closer look at some of these key findings.

Drake Trailers are one of the country’s leading trailer manufacturers and has been in operation in Brisbane since 1958. We take pride in the quality and workmanship of our Australian-made range of heavy duty trailers. If you’re after the best trailer that will be with you for the long-haul, contact us today.

Read the press release Major contraction in heavy vehicle registrations in 2015 by ARTSA.

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