Heavy haul market normalizes as supply chain returns
By Hannah Sundermeyer01 December 2021
Heavy-haul equipment is often times the key component to the success of construction projects large and small. Whether they are commissioned for transporting modules, wind components, huge vessels or other oversized equipment, it’s important to have the right heavy haul vehicles in your hauling arsenal.
And as the market begins to see a recovery, customers are looking for the latest and greatest in equipment to help optimize profits. ACT reached out to the leading heavy-haul experts for their thoughts on the year to come, new innovations and emerging trends.
“As the market rebounds and with the new trends into renewable and more sustainable energy sources, we’re seeing a spike in power conversion projects which typically require heavy sets of generators and turbines,” said Miranda Mewhort, marketing and communications coordinator, Mammoet Canada Western Ltd. “Those units continue to grow in size and weight, demanding heavier trailers and very good planning to meet the tight project deadlines.
Faymonville’s Marco Andres has noticed wind blades getting longer and wind components getting heavier. Goldhofer is also reporting a notable increase in wind industry jobs and refinery expansion projects. Alongside growing industries, the market has recovered nicely against a backdrop of inflation and supply chain challenges, according to Tom Hiatt, director of sales, XL Specialized.
“Both manufacturers and customers have had to be flexible in order to accommodate the market’s trailer needs,” Hiatt said.
Latest and greatest
A driving factor in the rebounding market will surely be the newest innovations in heavy haul technology.
Nelson Trailers now offers hydraulic pendular suspensions, compensating gooseneck and auto-steering on over-the-road trailers. The company recently delivered a fleet of 10-line transporters to transport aerospace hardware across the country.
The P12 PLUS from Goldhofer offers a “game-changing vehicle combination for the North American market.” It can be individually configured for a wide range of transportation jobs. In a few simple steps using just a few accessories, the basic 12-axle version can be configured for various combinations – semi lowloader, drawbar combination, steerable dolly – for transporting extremely long concrete beams, for example, Goldhofer said.
At Talbert Manufacturing, tire inflation monitoring system options allow owners to easily monitor tire pressure.
“Underinflated tires are one of the biggest culprits of premature wear, so a system that helps keep them properly inflated maximizes tire longevity and boosts fuel efficiency,” said Troy Geisler, vice president, sales and marketing, Talbert Manufacturing. “While these features tend to be more of an optional consideration from lowboy trailer owners who travel more of a point A to point B system, we have seen an increased interest from traveling axle trailer operators who are carrying diverse loads each day and spend significant amounts of time on the open road.”
Additionally, Talbert has seen increased interest in features like digital scales, which allow users to monitor the weight of their load to reduce trailer stress and ensure it’s not exceeding capacity.
In 2021, Fontaine Heavy-Haul introduced the Workhorse 55PVR specifically for the paving market. The Workhorse 55PVR features a low front approach angle which is required to accommodate ground hugging paving equipment. What differentiates this trailer from other paver trailers is the removable center-bogie section, the company said. This enables the Workhorse 55PVR to quickly convert from hauling paving equipment to excavators by utilizing the open boom-well with the center-bogie section removed.
At Mammoet, the company offers a range of the latest technology for growing heavy haul needs, varying from over the road hydraulic equipment and the newest models of SPMTS, which have capacities of up to 48-tons per axle.
The HighwayMAX Dolly&Booster by Faymonville is an extendable super heavy haul trailer composed of nine hydraulically steered pendle-axles, a 3-axle jeep dolly and a 3-axle nitro-booster. Including the truck, this unit creates a 19-axle combination and achieves a legal payload of about 240,000 pounds at 20,000 pounds per axle.
The Eco1000 by Cometto is a self-propelled electronically steered modular vehicle with integrated Power Pack Unit for in-plant transport jobs up to a payload of 1,000 tons.
At E.D. Etnyre & Co., customers are looking for longer decks and lightweight trailers. So as a result the company has been selling several trailers with hydraulic flip over gooseneck extensions and rear flip axles so the trailers can avoid permits when they are not loaded.
Like many, Talbert Manufacturing was hopeful that December 31, 2020, was the finish line of the Covid-19 pandemic, however, the challenges the industry has faced in 2021 made 2020 pale in comparison.
“This past year was tough not only for manufacturers but also for end-users due to the limited supply chain and labor shortages,” said Geisler. “Talbert Manufacturing experienced a drastic spike in demand for all materials which affected our output due to the availability of parts from suppliers — an issue that affected much of the industry. Additionally, we’ve seen how the significant increase in costs has been difficult for dealers and customers alike.”
Although it has been a difficult year, Geisler said it has given the company opportunities to adjust strategies and streamline processes amidst the supply chain and labor challenges.
“In 2022, we would like to see prices stabilize, labor shortages get back to normal and the supply chain get back where it was before the pandemic,” said Kevin Sassaman, project manager, E.D. Etnyre & Co. “There is a lot of demand for product and with new infrastructure bill just passed so the demand should continue to grow.”
The team at XL Specialized also expects 2022 to be a busy, successful year with notable growth following the passage of the infrastructure bill.
“In the past few years, it has become more clear than ever how important trucking is to the overall economy,” said Hiatt.“Loads need to move, trucks need to move them and truckers need trailers.”
What lies ahead for 2022 is unknown.
“Every contribution to the industry may still be challenged with labor shortages as well as finding availability for parts,” said Talbert Manufacturing’s Geisler. “However, we are optimistic that 2022 will indeed bring progress and that the second half of the year will be the start of improvements and growth.”
Many are hopeful for the resolution of supply chain issues. Nelson’s Tony Niese believes that the industry will see the constant material and component price increases slow down considerably and become more reasonable.
Goldhofer is also optimistic that 2022 will serve as a strong trade show year, as many return.