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Greater Trailer Capacity; an Inevitability?

Various groups in the trucking world are clamoring for and against greater length and/or weight capacity allowances from the DOT and the federal government.

It’s probably obvious, that most shipper would want greater capacities. If they can ship more goods for roughly the same prices, it’s a win for them. But the carriers straddle the line.

Currently the GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight) allowance tops out at 80,000. And maximum trailer lengths are 53’ for one trailer or 28’ and/or 28.5’ for twin trailers (often called “pups”). Proposals suggest allowing pup-lengths to grow to 33’ and creating a provision in which a 3rd axle on 53’ trailers (vans) would allow for a 90,000 GVW.

On the carrier side most of the big boys support the idea. The big boys can leverage economies of scale and find a way to make money on thinner margins despite greater equipment costs and greater equipment-maintenance costs. Asking owner-ops and small-shop carriers to absorb these additional costs is creating further barriers-to-entry. The big boys don’t want the smaller carriers in the game. Barriers-to-entry are a good thing in their minds.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Frankly I’m surprised these additional-capacity rule-changes have not been adopted yet.

Thanks for reading.

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