The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Study of Fleet Interest in Trailer Monitoring Services is Released

December 6, 2004

LOS ANGELES — C.J. Driscoll & Associates has released a new multi-client study covering interest of U.S. trucking fleet operators in trailer monitoring systems and services. The Trailer Monitoring Systems and Services Study assesses trucking fleet operators´ interest in tracking the location and status of fleet trailers and willingness to pay for trailer monitoring equipment and services. With nearly five million commercial trailers operating in the U.S., many trucking fleets have difficulty keeping track of the location and status of fleet trailers. However, only a small percentage of trucking fleets have invested in GPS-based systems that automatically report trailer locations. The Trailer Monitoring Systems and Services Study determines the willingness of trucking fleets to invest in trailer monitoring systems. It also assesses whether trailer monitoring is poised to be a major growth market for GPS and wireless application providers. The Trailer Monitoring Systems and Services Study was partially funded by seven companies, including most leading U.S. suppliers of trailer monitoring systems. Sponsors of the study included Aether Systems, GE Equipment Services, QUALCOMM, SkyBitz, SkyTel, Terion, and Transcore. Participants included a broad cross-section of trucking fleet operators throughout the U.S. The survey included a representative sample of large fleets with 500 or more trailers, as well as mid-size and smaller trucking fleets. Truckload carriers, less-than-truckload (LTL) carriers, and private fleet operators provided opinions on the value of trailer monitoring systems for fleet operations. Fleets transporting hazardous materials, high-value goods, and perishable (refrigerated) goods reported on the potential benefits of trailer monitoring systems for protecting cargo. Sixty percent of the survey participants stated that they would be willing to pay for trailer monitoring equipment and over two-thirds (70 percent) stated that they would pay a monthly fee to monitor the location and status of fleet trailers. These respondents also reported the amount they would pay for monitoring equipment and services. Many of those who did not confirm a willingness to pay stated that they would have to study the potential return on investment or confer with other members of management before deciding how much they would pay for the equipment and services.
  • Both aided and unaided testing showed that trucking fleet operator awareness of most trailer monitoring suppliers is low.
  • Among surveyed fleets currently using a trailer monitoring system, the satisfaction level is high (3.7 on a 5-point scale).
  • Over half the survey participants (60 percent) stated that they would be willing to pay a higher price for a trailer monitoring system that will monitor untethered trailers as well as trailers that are hooked to the power unit (tractor). The need for untethered trailer monitoring is particularly prevalent among large truckload carriers that “drop” trailers in customer yards and other locations.
  • Among the 168 trucking fleets participating in the survey, those that plan to purchase a trailer monitoring system in the next 18 months reported that they will install monitoring equipment on nearly 100,000 trailers.
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