Here Comes the Trucking Boom in the Weirdest Economy Ever

Never a dull moment in the land of consumer stimulus and heavy trucks.

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

Boom and bust cycles are guaranteed in this business. And now, this is the Weirdest Economy Ever, powered by the $3 trillion the Fed threw at the markets, and by $3 trillion in government stimulus and bailout spending, and by a huge shift to work-from-home and learning-at-home that required all kinds of spending on laptops, network equipment, office chairs, desks, and, well, hot-tubs, and powered also by huge shifts on what consumers actually spent their money on.

Spending shifted from services, such as plane tickets, hotels, gyms, haircuts, manicures, rent (encouraged by eviction bans), and mortgage payments (made possible by forbearance), to stuff. And ecommerce is booming, and this stuff needs to be transported, much of it from overseas, and so imports are booming, and all this stuff has to then be shipped by truck or rail, and so all heck has broken loose in the container shipping business.

Trucking companies, which had cut their equipment orders to the bone during the two-year-long freight recession, are now grappling with the notion of equipment shortages. And by September, they were ordering large numbers of class-8 trucks that haul the goods across America. And in November, orders for class 8 trucks exploded to 52,600 orders, according to FTR Transportation Intelligence, matching the prior two historic records of July and August 2018:

“The tremendous volume reflects several large fleets placing their requirement orders for the entirety of 2021 to lock up build slots, which they perceive could be in short supply next year,” FTR said in the note.

Truckers are dealing with the current flood of consumer-oriented freight. And they expect the industrial-oriented freight, which is still lagging, to hopefully pick up soon.

“Fleets are placing big orders anticipating needing more trucks throughout next year,” FTR said. This boom in orders was triple the number of orders in November last year, the biggest year-over-year percentage gain (199%) in years. This chart of percentage changes from the same month a year earlier also depicts the whiplash-inducing boom-and-bust nature of the industry:

Throughout the freight recession and the ensuing plunge in orders for heavy trucks that started in November 2018, truck manufacturers have been eating through what was in mid-2018 a record backlog that then became very thin. Truck manufacturers responded with plant closings and layoffs, as hundreds of trucking companies, including some large ones, collapsed into bankruptcy. But that is like so 2019 and early 2020. Now is the boom.

“The huge November orders mean that Q4 will be a fabulous one, regardless of what comes in for December, and that portends well for the expected increase in production early next year,” said FTR’s VP of commercial vehicles, Don Ake.

But this stimulus money that arrived in consumer bank accounts or was used to pay down credit cards is starting to run low, and there are already signs that consumers have tapered their splurging on goods.

And now everyone is praying for more stimulus money with which consumers will buy more goods that have to be, or already have been, imported from China, Mexico, Germany, and other countries, so that they will have to be transported from ports to warehouses and fulfillment centers around the country, and from there to consumers and brick-and-mortar stores. Because without new stimulus, consumers — millions of them still without jobs — might just refuse to prop up on their own the Weirdest Economy Ever.

Stimulus and extra unemployment insurance dried up. But 16% of “proprietors’ income” in October was PPP money & Pandemic farm aid, and that too is drying up. Read... The State of the American Consumer: Free Pandemic-Money Runs Low

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  84 comments for “Here Comes the Trucking Boom in the Weirdest Economy Ever

  1. GrassRanger says:

    This scene in the trucking industry is just one of many that we will be observing along the road to von Mises’ crack-up boom.

  2. Brady Boyd says:

    Klaus Schwab says soon we will own nothing and be much happier, so there won’t be the need for heavy trucks transporting Made in China plastic junk to Amazon distribution centers and Walmart anymore.

    • Engin-ear says:

      – “soon we will own nothing”

      We built an important material infrastructure during XX century.

      This infrustructure will last at least decades with minimal mainenance.

      If “we” own nothing one day, than it not because there is nothing to own, but because the general notion of private property was suspended like in Middle Ages.

      Alarming but unlikely event.

      • Tanstaafl says:

        This ‘minimal maintenance’ started 4 decades ago. So, take a look at the state of the roads and bridges on your way across the country. It was the Eisenhower administration that buildt the highways…

        • Page88 says:

          The lack of long term quality of the build of the Interstate system (not built for long term) is becoming apparent. I lived in Minneapolis MN from 1980 thru 2010 and talked to someone certified in “designing and certifying streets” in 2008 for housing developments………………..Minneapolis has the same challenging winter freeze – spring thaw cycle as Germany. Germany builds the autobahn for long, long term (the Autobahn base depth is substantially deeper and thicker “concrete”). The Autobahn is as “smooth as glass- ten years after being built” – his choice of words to emphasize quality of road). It seems they were always “fixing and repairing” highways in Minneapolis……..I ponder his perspective while currently living in St. Louis, MO. The Interstate around here is in “challenging shape” (lived in St. Louis starting in 2012)

        • Echt Irre says:

          Every place is better, if it is far away.

          Here in Germany wie call our Autobahn infrastructure-apocalypse, with every fifth bridge, that has to be renewed.

        • JCD says:

          Great Article Wolf

          If you buy it, give it or discard it, a truck handles the process.

          Truckers and Truck Dealers are in un-charted water here, where we hope the flow continues; though this fast river could always turn to a pond over-night.

      • TruckMan says:

        “Money, so they say,
        is the root of all evil today.
        But if you ask for a raise
        they’re giving none away”
        Pink Floyd, ‘Money’

        If owning nothing makes you happy, why are the billionaires still keen to own everything?
        The notion of private property was much stronger in the Middles Ages…but only for one class. And the rest were their private property. Ownership of yourself was largely non-existent in the Middle Ages, and the penalty for most people for most offenses was Death.

    • andy says:

      We own nothing now.

    • Heinz says:

      World Economic Forum that Klaus Schwab (who reminds me of Dr Evil in Austin Powers films) represents is planning a Great Reset for us.

      Their proposed utopia requires that all plebes own virtually nothing and will be furnished what they want or need on demand. Need transportation? A flying car will be sent to your location (guided by GPS chip in your skull). Need a place to crash? You will be directed to a house (full of course of other strangers). Need a new tech gadget or toy? A drone will deliver it to you pronto. Your thoughts will be read with implantable technology and your desires and fears tabulated and recorded.

      That is dystopia on steroids, but the masses will be enamored of such a scenario. At least until it burns down.

      • Jeremy Wolff says:

        If most people needed those things rarely, then it really would be ideal. You are thinking people constantly need all that. But in this future society, people may be content walking places (since their city might be attractive and full of amenities), and living at home, and not having to buy a bunch of stuff. In a minimalist society, this system is ideal.

        • Lisa_Hooker says:

          “All events are linked together in the best of all possible worlds, for, after all, if you had not been kicked out of a fine castle for your love of Miss Cunégonde… then you wouldn’t be here eating preserved citrons and pistachio-nuts.”

        • Cas127 says:

          Funny how I didn’t see public sector gvt unions arguing for “minimalist” pay/benefit increases over the last 50 yrs.

          Don’t our betters know the “joy of less”?

    • Sit23 says:

      Do Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerburg, Prince Charles, etc, etc, know that in ten years time they will own nothing and be happy? Or could this prediction only apply to a certain sector of our community, and not another sector? If it doesn’t apply to all of society, maybe Mr Schwab should say so. Or is he organising the taking away of all our pitchforks, and our guillotine making gear before before he says this bit.

  3. Joe in LA says:

    Off topic musing: I have a little more confidence in my SPY short now that Tesla is being added on Dec. 21. I can’t help but think that all the big holders are getting ready to dump this on pensions and mom-and-pop indexers, and then walk away.

    GS just upgraded Tesla, so the Vampire Squid is on the move….

    • doug says:

      Good thesis. Good luck with it. GS analyst touted it so much that some long term bulls thought it to be off base. They be setting it up?

    • andy says:

      That is what the indexing scam is all about. But they will do it to you for minimal fee.

      • Cas127 says:

        Indexing isn’t really a scam, since when appropriately designed it provides low cost diversification…which has been shown to yield superior multi decade returns for a long time.

        But…blindly cap weighted indexing and DC ZIRP have introduced pathologies into the system that are badly distorting the value of the most popular forms of indexing and increasing, rather than decreasing, long term volatility.

  4. MonkeyBusiness says:

    Americans are also tapping their credit lines again. According to a recent report by the New York Fed total household debt increased by $87 billion (0.6%) to $14.35 trillion in the third quarter of 2020. The increase more than offset the decline seen in the second quarter of 2020 as total household debt has surpassed its 2020Q1 reading.

    The strong live, Muricans buy.

    • Lance Manly says:

      G19 will be out next week, I think Monday. Looks like credit growth restarted in Sept.

  5. Lee says:

    Weird?

    Weirdest Economy Ever?

    You want weird?

    How about this from the magical land of Oz:

    “The iron ore price, while it was knocked around by the initial impact of the pandemic in March, has been climbing strongly ever since and has now reached $US136.29 a tonne, its highest level since September 2013 and nearly 50 per cent higher than it traded at the start of this year.”

    And the result:

    “Fortescue Metals up 13.3 per cent to a new record high close of $20.65. BHP added 4.9 per cent to finish at an 18-month high $41.25, and Rio Tinto rose 6.9 per cent to end at $112.20, its highest finish since 2008.”

    • MiTurn says:

      Australia faces some potentially difficult challenges ahead with China’s increasingly in-your-face attitude — don’t you think?

      Or is it all bluff?

      • Mark S says:

        No, it’s not bluff.

        I think that China wants to make an example of Australia. Other countries will note what happens to nations which don’t offer sufficient deference to the Middle Kingdom, and consequently not dare to cross it.

        Various Australian exports to China have been selected in turn for tariffs, or rejected on spurious quality grounds. Barley and lobsters are now effectively blocked. Wine has had significant tariffs applied, despite a craven Australian government signing a lop-sided free trade agreement with China just a couple of years ago.

        A flotilla of coal ships is at anchor off Chinese ports, being denied permission to unload.

        Iron ore is a special case, because the Chinese need it, and lack sufficient other sources, for the moment. Brazil’s output has suffered due to COVID-19 and earlier tailings dam collapses, but it will return to the game in due course. Chinese interests are working urgently on a large iron ore project in Africa. Australian iron ore companies don’t have many easy, carefree years left. (But the ugly truth is that they are not very Australian. Rio Tinto has, I recall, about 15% Australian ownership. A Chinese company owns a bit more of it than Australians do.)

        It is important for the world that Australia does not give in. Signs are, the Labor Party would kowtow, were it to come to power. One imagines China will be pushing behind the scenes for Labor to be elected next time. The Chinese seem slightly rattled that the decadent and soft Australian government hasn’t waved the white flag yet.

        • Cas127 says:

          Both import source and export destination diversification is an important lesson for all countries to learn.

    • Ditto Copper, but I wouldn’t put too much stock in the recovery. Some of this is China reconfiguring their economy (economic dustup with Ausland). Their methods to date involve pushing down commodity prices by dumping, (and shuttering competitive global production) in order to sell finished goods at the lowest price. The thumb on the scale is lifting. The Yuan is appreciating against the dollar, and China is drawing down dollar reserves, (even while the trade deficit with the US grows) They may also curtail their parabolic rise in US crude oil purchases. Is deflation taking hold in China, as credit tightens? Realistically WTIC is probably 2X fair value, which does not bode well for transportation, though of little effect to locked down US consumers, who face stag- hyper(dis)inflationary recession?? Dollar falling like a stone, assets rise.

      • Fat Chewer. says:

        It is because of a politically incompetent political party. If they didn’t have ol Uncle Rupee at their back they would have been toast decades ago.

      • nick kelly says:

        Please let’s get over the ‘what if China unloads 1.4 trillion of dollar reserves’, or what the Fed has issued per month for the last 3 months.

        No doubt the ‘China effect’ on the world economy is huge because their credit expansion is the largest in history and based on a flimsier version than even the US. One study puts China’s real estate bubble at 40 % of their economy.

        The yuan is appreciating? So what? It accounts for about as much world transaction volume as the Canadian dollar. If you want to wipe the smile off a Chinese exporter ask if you can pay in yuan.

        • Cas127 says:

          Well…doesn’t Chinese law effectively require them to de facto accept Yuan anyway…because they are forced to exchange USD for Yuan inside China?

          They can break the law by keeping USD export proceeds offshore (and there are many dodges to do so) but the vast bulk of Chinese export proceeds (see FX reserves) end up as Yuan ultimately due to CCP policy.

      • Cas127 says:

        “The Yuan is appreciating against the dollar”

        20 yrs overdue and a long, long way from a free equilibrium.

  6. MCH says:

    Wow, you really can’t make this stuff up. I am trying to decide when I slipped and fell into the matrix. The word distortion doesn’t even begin to cover what’s going on here.

    From a basic stand point, the shift to online purchases, I can kinda see this, but it still boggles the mind.

  7. Taps Coogan says:

    Markets are going to miss this recession whenever it’s over…

    • andy says:

      Agree, stocks have reached what seems a permanently high plateau.

      Just in time Robert Shiller conjured up some new valuation metric that shows stocks are not as overpriced as some believe.

      Perhaps Shiller’s Fisher moment.

    • rip says:

      Yeah. If recessions are this good, then a recession is the best economic model there is.

  8. Kenny Logouts says:

    I’m pretty sure Wolf made the point over the years.

    All this new money is looking for yield and malinvestment is rife… driven harder by zirp.

    Bubbles everywhere.

    Good luck finding anything not distorted.

    • TruckMan says:

      I don’t think there’s anything that isn’t distorted. In the fields I know something about, if things don’t look distorted it’s because the stats have been doctored to make it look that way.

      “Quit while you’re behind”
      Best advice ever. I got that from one of my air combat instructors.
      Because it’s very hard in the heat of the moment to make that decision, you have to set the criteria for doing so beforehand. Then all you need is the determination to stick to the plan.
      Because if you quit whilst you’ve lost a bit, you get to come back later with some assets remaining, instead of sticking around and losing everything. I think that applies to the situation created by ZIRP. The interest rates in anything sensible (not that there’s much left even in that category) are not worth the risk of chasing them.

  9. David Hall says:

    Railroad intermodal and container shipping increased.

    Some retail businesses may be stocking for Christmas.

    • Lisa_Hooker says:

      Christmas stockings are so 19th century. You can’t put a widescreen in a stocking.

  10. MiTurn says:

    “And now everyone is praying for more stimulus money with which consumers will buy more goods that have to be…imported from China, Mexico, Germany, and other countries.”

    Yup, there lies an important issue and problem. Fortunately, most of my food is still made in the US of A. For now, anyway.

  11. Brant Lee says:

    Hopefully, the truck drivers are making some money for a while. If driving regulations are being enforced in these crazy times, there is most likely a real shortage of operators. But this surge will probably be short-lived.

    • MiTurn says:

      And/or automated self-driving trucks!

      • Heinz says:

        Long-promised self-driving long haul trucks are probably coming in next decade or so. That will displace a lot of truckers.

        For local delivery at neighborhood level we will still need trucks for a while.

        If Amazon delivery drones really do take off (pardon pun) that could put a dent in local truckers too.

        Merchandisers like Amazon and Walmart realize future home delivery systems are prospective costs that will need more efficiencies and cost cutting.

        • KGC says:

          Automated long haul trucking is only going to accent the need to invest in trains (automated trains) for long haul, with local (under 100 miles) relegated to “trucking”. Trains are more efficient for long haul, and considerably cleaner. The number of transportation hubs will increase, and the upgrade in rail will include the ability to handle faster trains. fast rail for passengers is a no sum game, faster long haul of freight is where the money is, and will be.

        • JCD says:

          Do you really think the will let a 80,000 lb truck drive itself, carrying gas or just regular freight. No without dedicated secure lanes.

          Truck drivers have no worry

          50 year truck dealer

    • As I understand they are releasing a lot of people from prison which should keep the labor market loose for a good while

      • Harrold says:

        That sounds like a lot of pardons are forthcoming.

        • tom12 says:

          Are they pardoning the ones behind bars…or behind drapes?
          I’m waiting for the day when we replace incarceration with shelter in place. A much kinder terminology.

    • Wolfbay says:

      Certain regulations aren’t being enforced. Truckers with food and “essential items” have no limit on the number of hours they can drive. overworked drivers and more accidents?

  12. raxadian says:

    I am asking… what happens when the stimulus money dries up?

    • endeavor says:

      Easy peasey. Asset inflation comes to an end and the big money boys buy up the rest of the country to rent it to you.

    • Bobber says:

      Why would the stimulus dry up? It is universal basic income, which doesn’t dry up. Governments have a way of slipping into transitions like this, without telling anybody.

  13. Yort says:

    CNBC article today:

    “Goldman Sachs upgrades Tesla, says the stock has massive upside of over 30%”

    So I am guessing “lunar pickups” and experimental EV semis are going to be the next big thing in truck sales? I’m estatic Tesla stock price is going to the moon as the TSLA hype has pushed up my china EV stocks about 100% per month over the last three months. That said, I can not understand the TESLA truck and Semi craze…what am I missing? Also, why is XOM up 20% in one month? So TESLA and XOM are winning together?

    Weirdest investors ever!

  14. Yort says:

    Per CNBC today:

    “Goldman says copper bull run ‘fully underway,’ sees potential for record high”

    So all time highs on copper soon, and yet a $780 price target on TSLA (which needs lots of copper) mainly because ICE will be outlawed in 10-20 years per Goldman analysis today?

    This is hard to logically process as a lot can change in 1 year, let alone 10-20 years from today. Perhaps Wolf can explain TSLA in a future article as I really want to understand why TSLA is predicted by Goldman to rule future EV sales when there will be hundreds of EV vehicles and trucks launched by every competitor over the next two to five years. If they had a 10 year lead on manufacturing vehicles, that would make sense. If they had a 10 year lead on manufacturing batteries, that would make sense. If they had a 10 year lead on automated driving software (already stolen by China), that would make sense. What impossible to mimic advantage does TSLA currently have over the other EV competitors???

    Did Goldman even read Elon’s letter to employees dated Dec 1, 2020:

    When looking at our actual profitability, it is very low around 1% for the past year. Investors are giving us a lot of credit for future profitability but if, at any point, they conclude that’s not going to happen, our stock will immediately get crushed like a souffle under a sledgehammer!

    • Bobber says:

      It is disconcerting to see TSLA now trying to make profit targets via cost cutting. Companies with super high PE’s should be focusing on revenues, as that is the stock price driver.

      Perhaps Musk is really thinking the stock price is going to plummet, like any rational person would be thinking, and he’s setting expectations.

    • Lee says:

      Tesla has a ten year lead on how to scam……………………

      See one of those magic machines around here once in a while, but I guess with a price tag north of A$150,000 for the top models, there aren’t many around.

      The ones with bucks still prefer their Porsches, BMW’s, Mercs, Range/Land Roversand Lexus.

      New neighbour moved in this week to a house that was on the market for about a month. A cheap BMW parked in the driveway.

      Haven’t seen them yet…………………….wonder if it will be another Chinese family moving into the street…………………

      (Nothing for sale in the few streets around us, but one across the road about 700 meters from us that has been for sale for a while. Big lot, big house, and big price tag, swimming pool, but no tennis court. )

  15. Old Engineer says:

    One of the real drawbacks of the e-commerce boom is that the interstate system is going to become clogged with trucks. The main effect results from drivers taking 10 minutes to pass another truck because they are going 1/2 mph faster. And they love to do it on hills, slowing the interstate down to about 40 mph.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Old Engineer,

      In terms of the Interstate highways, it doesn’t make a lot of difference if the truck heads toward a shopping mall or a fulfillment center.

      What you’re correctly pointing at is the issue of consumer spending shifting to goods (which have to be transported) from services (which are not transported). Spending on goods has hit record highs in recent months, while spending on services is still far below a year ago. So that shift to goods from services does impact highway traffic.

      • RightNYer says:

        Which is really a sad reflection on the American people. I (obviously) haven’t spent nearly as much on services, as I’ve taken no vacations, gone to no theaters, or anything else during the pandemic, but I didn’t take the money I saved and think “Hey, this money is burning a hole in my pocket, let me find some crap online to fill my house with!”

        • qt says:

          That’s the American way. Buy junks you don’t need, with money you don’t have, to impress people you don’t like. :)

      • And can’t wait to see the final print for 2020 GDP, but services represent some 68% of U.S. GDP!! So this spurt in consumer spending, industrial side dead as a doornail except for Class 8 truck builders at this moment, can be to the moon in 2020 from the funny money sugar high of Dollar Printing, and the overall U.S. economy still stays in recession mode for 2020. 2021 is going to look a lot worse than 2020 as the Payment Forbearance hiatuses expire in about 27 days.

        Heard yesterday of a very astute, wealthy investor buying farmland to grow potatoes. Harkens back to the days of the potato famine in Ireland which propelled Irishmen and Irishwomen to first land in NYC in droves. Most of the police in the City and certainly at Ellis Island were Irish in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Hence, my Czech ancestors from Prague in 1921 had the spelling of their Czech name, Kilian, changed to the Irish version of Killian with two “L’s”! Just some interesting stuff for the Holidays.

    • Wolfbay says:

      I was told by a Canadian trucker that their semis have speed governors that allow a top speed of About 55 mph. He said it was a dangerous situation because of the speed differential between us and Canadian trucks on the interstate. Also adds to more trucks clogging the system.

    • rip says:

      The e-commerce system is horrifically inefficient. Here’s an example: I ordered a jacket from a retailer. I actually wanted more items from that retailer but since I wasn’t familiar with their sizing wanted to try one item out first rather than ordering a bunch that might not fit. I received the jacket and it fit. Success.

      I then ordered 6 more items. Of the 6 items, one was a miss-pick at the warehouse, one was nothing like the picture and description, one was sized too small, and 3 fit and were acceptable. I kept 3 and sent 3 back. I ordered 3 different items to make up for the aforementioned 3, and 3 more on top of that.

      Of the next 6 that came, I ended up only keeping 1 because of sizing issues. The fit is not the same throughout a brand, let alone each style. I returned 5. None of this would have happened shopping in a store. This particular retailer has no store in my area.

      The new clothing model uses your house as a dressing room, where you wait several days to try on each item, which have to be shipped back and forth thousands of miles by an 18 wheeler.

      • Wolf Richter says:

        It only looks inefficient to you because you don’t know what’s going on in the alternative, brick-and-mortar retail, which is enormously inefficient and simply cannot compete with ecommerce.

  16. Saylor says:

    I am kind of wondering…, after a series of boom/bust cycles in truck manufacturing, if all the trucking companies now have fleets that age out at the same time thus supporting more of a boom/bust cycle for the manufacturers? Not a 100% effect but some sort of influence.

    • Yort says:

      The most marketable commodity on the planet is money, at least that is how I define money, the world’s biggest commodity. Thus, when the world central banks produce an infinite amount of the “money commodity” out of thin air, it affects all other real-life commodities at some point, by some various degree, for all unsuspecting humans that need products and services that require real world commodity inputs. Pull up a chart over the last 20 years of all the major commodities, and you will see that the commodity volatility has been on par with the volatility in the biggest commodity on Earth, fiat money…

      The Fed knows they produce too much “money commodity”, yet they just recently fully comprehend that it mostly went to the top 10%, who do not have the capacity to spend said overproduction of the “money commodity”; therefore, we had a 20-year decline in the velocity of money that is obvious via Fed charts. So, to solve this conundrum, they will do “QE for the people”, which not only benefits the politicians for a few years, but the voters will enjoy buying “something for nothing” for a short while too (Santa will soon be temporarily real…just got goose bumps, you too?). Unfortunately, due to physical based atomic reality (vs Fed fiat electron reality), the velocity of money will spike quickly and the fed inflation dreams will be shockingly finally realized, and then pick your poison. Yields could increase, stocks could collapse, or we try a partial debt jubilee, etc, etc, etc…or a combination of such forced unintended consequences. I suspect the Fed will not be seen as “The Hero” once we hit the limit of Fed ignorance, be it tomorrow of ten years from now. The Fed is simply attempting to delay the inevitable, yet unfortunately I think they are inadvertently expediting the monetary end game instead.

  17. Crush the Peasants! says:

    Ooops. Misread “Trucking” in the title.

    • Yort says:

      LOL…”TR”…”F”…maybe even an oxymoron “S”??? Thanks for the laugh, else we would all be crying…HA

  18. Wolfbay says:

    Even if you accept climate change what we can do is pretty insignificant. The elephants in the room are China and India. China has recently opened hundreds of new coal burning power plants. Gotta power those “green” EVs.

  19. nick kelly says:

    I would have thought that the life of a semi was maybe 10 years. 2018 last boom in orders was only 2 years ago. Did they disappear or something? OK obviously not but I’m assuming you don’t order a piece of capital equipment to keep up with the Joneses. Can’t they be re-built?

    • Serge says:

      Nick Kelly

      Big trucking companies order new trucks at significant discount, something like $50k off. They keep them for two years and trade them for new trucks again. This way they always have new trucks, with warranty.

    • Lynn says:

      Yes, they can, and some companies do. Some of the logging and lumber hauling trucks in Northern Ca look to be 30 YO.

      • KGC says:

        There’s a reason for that; old trucks can be rebuilt and avoid the current EPA standards. There is a major market in secondary/rebuilt large trucks. Legislation to limit the number of engines that can be dropped onto a truck frame, or limiting the number and/or type of rebuilds has gone nowhere.

  20. Shiloh1 says:

    You have exposed the “immaculate conception fallacy” of “renewable energy”.

  21. This Class 8 over-the-road tractor ordering is very similar to the current surge in orders for building lumber, with lumber prices through the roof, with shortages, in 2020. Home builders have a very poor record of building way to many spec houses just before the home market’s bottom falls out. I think this is going to happen to many of these backlogs OTR tractors.

    In fact, when the shipping companies are swimming in these tractors, as I feel they will be in 2021 when the INCOME COLLAPSE resumes at the consumer level, I might pick one up cheap and use it to haul a customized 25 ft. trailer that I will live in as I stay one step ahead of the Maddening Crowd. Trailer parks are going to look a lot different in 2021 and beyond!!! Happy Holidays.

  22. Russell says:

    Wolf – Do you remove comments offering conflicting views on global warming? I have noticed a few of mine disappear. Is that not an area open to discussion?

  23. rip says:

    “…But this stimulus money that arrived in consumer bank accounts or was used to pay down credit cards is starting to run low, and there are already signs that consumers have tapered their splurging on goods…And now everyone is praying for more stimulus money…”

    I find the whole situation despicable. The entire system is so phony and corrupt that I have little hope that the USA will even exist in the future.

  24. Mad Dog says:

    I see ads on all the big rigs going down I95, “Help Wanted” Long haul drivers. Excellent pay and benefits. These are the jobs of the future.

  25. pbfurn says:

    @ Grass Ranger Your comment was first and the most poignant. You are quite correct; this is a giant symptom of the short-term future.

Comments are closed.