The continued shortage of off-the-road-tires is proving to be a boon for retreaders, in more ways than one.
In the obvious instance, there is lots of business. Retreaders have added shifts and employees to pump up production. The fact is, they haven't been able to increase production capacity fast enough to meet demand.
Additionally, OTR retreaders face the time-honored problem of finding enough retreadable casings. But the news-heavy customer demand expected to continue throughout the year-remains good.
The big boom in OTR tire demand comes from higher road-building levels and growth in the overall construction industry. That created a big increase in activity at rock quarry and sand and gravel operations, the prime customer base for the big tires.
The number of new OTR tire shipments isn't meeting demand. And that's where the current conditions cause the second benefit for OTR retreaders.
Companies that ordinarily haven't relied on retreads have turned to this product when new tires weren't available. That gives the retreaders a chance to show their stuff, and demonstrate the value of their product.
It isn't just economic factors that make OTR retreads useful, either. Some OTR retreaders believe customers will stay with them in the future for conservation and environmental reasons, too. That should keep demand for OTR retreads strong, even after the availability of new tires increases.
And increase it will. The major tire makers have earmarked a combined $650 million to boost production capacity for OTR tires.
Heavy truck fleet operators long ago learned that retreads can be a cost-effective alternative to new tires. Now OTR customers are getting that lesson.