After climbing steeply for months, parts and labor expenses in the trucking sector stabilized during the first quarter of 2023, according to a report from the American Trucking Associations (ATA)’s Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) and Decisiv Inc.
While high prices for parts and higher wages for labor during the past year are unlikely to return to earlier levels, the report shows a marked slowing of cost increases. Compared to the fourth quarter of last year those costs rose only 0.7%, a sizable drop when viewed against the more than 8% increase from one year earlier.
Broken into components, parts costs dropped by 0.4% and labor costs increased 2.3% between the fourth quarter of 2022 and the first quarter of this year, reflecting that new vehicles backordered for historically long periods are finally reaching end users, the report found.
There is also a general decrease in mileage across all trucking segments, driven down by a reduction in freight volumes. According to data released monthly by ATA, on-highway truck tonnage continues to fall annually, and on a month-to-month basis.
“Fleets are weathering the impact of aging trucks and higher parts prices, and are addressing the need for technicians,” Decisiv President and CEO Dick Hyatt said in a release. “The data that Decisiv collects and analyzes for the TMC Benchmark Report on Vehicle Maintenance Reporting Standard system level codes clearly indicates that service costs are more stable.”
The information comes from the latest Decisiv/TMC North American Service Event Benchmark Report, which examines data in the system level codes used in Vehicle Maintenance Reporting Standards (VMRS). VMRS is a coding convention used to manage fleets’ assets and analyze maintenance operation costs, according to the ATA.
The report analyzes data from Decisiv’s service relationship management (SRM) platform, which tracks service and repair events for more than 7 million commercial assets operating across the U.S. and Canada. The system is used to manage a weekly average of 70,000 service events at nearly 5,000 locations.