A dry van trailer isn’t just a box on wheels, Bruce Ewald, Wabash National Vice President of Sales and Marketing, says.
At least it’s not if you’re investing in innovations to make your products better.
“We were a singular producer of dry vans and refeers (when founded) but we’ve changed quite a bit,” says Ewald, who was speaking at the Avondale Partners Trucking Forum in Dallas, Texas Wednesday.
Ewald says Wabash National uses market drivers and feedback to drive its innovations.
Those drivers include lower operating cots; enhancing productivity and utilization; optimizing weight, cube and payload; regulatory compliance and safety; improving fuel economy; extending the life of equipment; reducing environmental impact.
Those innovations, Ewald says, has helped Wabash put more trailers in a market he says is “very healthy” with “lots of reasons for optimism.”
Trailer demand is forecasted to remain above replacement levels this year.
From 1998-2000, 860,000 trailers were built nationwide. Ten years later (2008-2010) only 350,000 were built.
“That’s over 500,000 trailers that were not traded in; not taken out of the system,” Ewald says.
Those trailers are now, slowly, beginning to work their way off the highway.
In order the capture more of the replacement trend, Ewald says Wabash will introduce a few new initiatives.
In 2014 Wabash National will launch bonded LTL trailers with a smooth exterior surface, reduced weight, a reduction in leak potential, and that are easier to repair, according to Ewald.
Ewald says the elimination of roof bows gives additional space inside, and the composite structure will be as durable as ever without them.
The company will also roll out a new roll up door – the MaxClearance Overhead door.
Ewald says the door is safer and easier to use than its predecessors, features an auto up-locking system that increases the usable opening by 2 inches, offers a total door opening 4 inches wider, and a header to door opening comparable to swing doors.