As Seen in RGJ: Peterbilt truck facility finishes major expansion in Sparks amid freight recession

A Sparks facility that specializes in Peterbilt trucks just completed a major expansion amid a “freight recession,” banking on growing demand for truck servicing fueled by more used trucks on the road and ongoing supply chain issues.

Peterbilt Truck Parts & Equipment held a grand opening this month as the dealership and service center celebrated a $10 million expansion of its facility in Sparks. The 27,000-square-foot expansion nearly doubles the truck facility’s size to 48,000 square feet.

“Reno-Sparks has long been an important location for trucking support for routes between Sacramento and Salt Lake City,” said John Phillips, owner of Peterbilt Truck Parts and Equipment.

“That has become even more true in recent years with the addition of more manufacturing and distribution facilities to our market.”

Nevada has seen its logistics sector surge in the last decade, reaching 100,400 jobs in 2020, according to the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development. The employment numbers represent a 55% increase from 2010.

In Washoe County, logistics jobs grew by 42% to 28,405 positions. Reno also ranked third in a global ranking for logistics rent growth in 2021.

COVID-19 put even more pressure on the industry as online buying surged. The pandemic also wreaked havoc on the “just-in-time” model used by companies for purchases, fueling supply chain issues. The shortages included truck parts.

“We are continuing to see supply chain disruptions and the result is that our customers need to keep trucks already in service on the road longer,” Phillips said. “This new facility will support our growing market and our customers’ ability to keep their fleets in operation.”

With the expansion complete, Peterbilt Truck Parts and Equipment is also looking to add 10 more workers to its current staff of 91.

The expanded facility includes 20 new service bays and 18 overhead crane bays. The facility also has a driver’s lounge with an entertainment and quiet area, laundry facilities, EV charging, and a station for “undecking” trucks.

The expansion’s completion comes at a time when the area is struggling with a freight recession, according to the Nevada Trucking Association. The lower rates paid for freight are being driven by excess capacity as thousands of people entered the industry in response to trucking shortages during the pandemic.

“We had so many people getting into this industry after COVID,” said Paul Enos, Nevada Trucking Association CEO. “The number of (truck) carriages in Nevada doubled from approximately 5,800 to 11,000.”

A freight recession is not necessarily bad news for a truck servicing operation, however.

Enos expects more used trucks to enter the market, which could lead to increased demand for servicing and repairs. Demand for servicing diesel trucks should also remain high despite new California regulations pushing for increased adoption of electric vehicles, Enos added.

“You are going to have to keep those trucks running,” Enos said. “Expanding a service center to make sure those trucks can be serviced and remain operable makes a tremendous amount of sense.”

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