A shortage of daily rental vans is causing problems for businesses according to the Association of Fleet Professionals. AFP director James Pestell said that the issue has been affecting short term van hire for some time.
“The problem is that many daily rental companies defleeted large numbers of vehicles during the pandemic and, because of the semiconductor shortage affecting car and van production, have found difficulty in replacing them. Even when they can get stock, they are having to pay something closer to list price, which has not historically been their business model,” he said.
“As a result, fleets have found themselves in a situation where booking rental is very difficult, prices are rising quite quickly and, even if you can get hold of a vehicle, the supplying company will often ask for it back at some point to fulfil other pre-existing bookings.
“This is happening at a time when fleets themselves are in situation where, again because of vehicle production issues, they actually need more vans from rental companies. It is becoming a genuine headache on a daily basis for many operators.”
The issue is also forcing some fleets to delay servicing and repairs, as relief vehicles are often unavailable while they are off the road. This has operational implications from a risk management point of view that require careful handling.
“Similarly, there are few rental vehicles to provide a fallback when breakdowns occur, meaning downtime is becoming a more and more serious problem, interrupting fleet operations and adding to costs over time,” said Pestell.
“Also, getting hold of rental vehicles for use by new starters is tricky, especially for the kind of timescales that are now needed with new vehicle waiting times often tipping into 6-12 months.”