Trucking productivity seen in peril as vehicle age rises

Despite van sales boost, TIC boss McMullan worries for economic performance, safety and environment


With truck sales still in the doldrums, particularly in the heavy-duty segments, the Truck Industry Council (TIC) has reiterated its concern about the state of the national truck fleet.

The only source of solace has been the continuing performance of light-duty vans.

"The poor truck sales result in July is disappointing, however I am pleased to see that at least the light-duty van result was strong," TIC CEO Tony McMullan says.

"The overall result in July highlights what I have been suggesting all year, there appears to be a general reluctance by the businesses in the road transport sector to make the bigger dollar spending commitments required to renew their existing and aging truck fleets.

"Unfortunately the fear that I have expressed all year, that these continuing poor truck sales will negatively impact on the age of the Australian truck fleet has come to fruition in July with the release of the latest edition of the Motor Vehicle Census by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, that shows the Australian truck park has further aged to now be on average 13.91 years old.

"A truck fleet that is of this age is not good for road safety outcomes, the environment, nor our nation’s productivity."

All truck segments posted losses over the same month in 2014, the TIC notes, with heavy duty down 2.8 per cent, medium duty down 4 per cent and light duty 3.9 per cent.

"Year-to-date the result is somewhat more alarming with heavy sales tracking down 8.8 per cent over the same period in 2014," it says.

"In terms of actual truck numbers the sales gap is now 529 fewer heavy trucks sold year-to-date in 2015."

Against that, light-duty vans are a beacon with 412 sales, up a healthy 23.7 per cent, or 79 vans, compared with the previous July.

The year-to-date tally stands at 3,269 sales, up 29.1 per cent or 736 vans, compared with the same period in 2014.

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