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  • James Cade

Review of ATRI Operational Costs of Trucking - 2020

I recently reviewed data from the 2020 ATRI report and was surprised to see that fleet “repair and maintenance costs (R&M)” in 2019 had fallen by 16% from the previous year. As someone responsible for a large fleet operation during this time, I did not recall my R&M expenses dropping by 16% from 2018 to 2019. In reviewing my benchmarking studies for 2019, which includes previous ATRI reports, I confirmed that although my costs did trend down in 2019, they did not come close to matching the ATRI report. Upon further examination, I also noticed that my fleets costs from 2014 to 2019 had trended down while the ATRI data trended up significantly during the same time, until 2019. Trying to understand the disconnect I found potential issues in the 2020 report. The sample size was much higher; 188k in 2019 as compared to 125k in 2018. The report also included a 10% increase in large TL carriers (>1k trucks) over the 2018 data. The average accumulated miles per truck was also much lower in 2019 (580K) as compared to 2018 (700k). The impact of these changes in the sample data is reinforced when you compare the private fleet data, for the same period, where age and miles remain constant with R&M costs remaining basically flat. In my opinion, the reported 2019 R&M reduction is a result of changes in the data sample set, not actual reductions in cost.

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