The latest vehicle registration figures show the trucking industry continuing to park up assets and deregistering them. The numbers for the fourth quarter of 2015 were published this week by the Australian Road Transport Suppliers Association and confirm what many in the industry have seen anecdotally, many sectors are very quiet.
Overall, new registrations are down 11 per cent in 2015, compared to 2014. Prime mover registrations were down 12 per cent, but new trailer registrations were down much more at 20 per cent. More disturbing, is the number of vehicles being deregistered. There was a 37 per cent increase in the number of vehicles retiring from the fleet, over the 2014 figure.
These results confirm a similar lack of confidence in the trucking game to the one shown by the TIC new truck sales figures for the year, published last week. For new sales, the year showed a steady decline, although with some improvement right at the end of the year.
This registration data being published by ARTSA is starting to take shape as an indicator of what is going on out in the trucking industry. These figures can put a number on the anecdotal evidence relayed by those selling and fixing trucks, and the views of operators on the business conditions under which they operate.
ARTSA has been collecting and analysing the number for just two years now. It will probably be a few more years before some real long term trends and a clearer picture emerge. The results we see, so far, can best be described as a snapshot.
“The contraction in the mining sector will have slowed road train work and probably resulted in dollies as well as single trailers being parked up,” said Peter Hart, ARTSA Chairman. “Apart from this, older trailers would also be next for retirement when freight volumes decline. We will be examining these changes in some detail in the up coming ARTSA Game Changers Conference on May 3-4 in Melbourne.”