2021 Trailer Trends: Lighter, Smarter, Tougher


Although the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020 continued to create a drag on the economy into 2021, looser restrictions amid higher vaccination rates have given hope to America’s economic outlook. As a result, many in the trucking industry are looking forward and expecting the recent upswing in shipping and transportation to continue its hot streak over the next year.

To ensure readiness, logistics managers seek more trailers to keep up with the pace required to fulfill backorders while also meeting the current needs of end-users. For all of these moving pieces to come together efficiently, trailer manufacturers are also scrambling to create new trailer models that are more economical than ever.

How Manufacturers Are Innovating

To create trailers that provide durability alongside affordability, modern trailer trends are pushing limits in aerodynamics. The idea is that improved aerodynamics reduce drag, meaning even heavier loads will perform lighter on the road.

Extending Trailer Life Cycles

Additionally, life cycle extension is on the minds of designers as modern trailers are now expected to be in service for up to 15 years. This life cycle focus has always been among the top trailer trends, but since Covid-19, fleet managers often need as many trailers in service as possible for as long as possible.

Weight Management

Some trailer manufacturers, including Great Dane, are also innovating in the space of weight management. Lightweight trailers mean more cargo and less wear on the nation’s roadways, but they also create less wear on truck engines.

Underride Guards

Great Dane, along with Utility Trailers, has also been instrumental in underride guard innovation. Both companies were recognized in 2018 by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety for their respective approaches to underride guard implementation.

Retrofitting Makes a Difference

Although retrofitting isn’t a new idea, the practice has become one of the top trailer trends as of late due to the ongoing need for every trailer possible to be in service. Utility Trailers is one of the companies spearheading the retrofitting effort. It encourages owners of 2002 and beyond trailer models to retrofit the factory underride guards with seven-inch horizontal rear underride guards.

Trailers Are Getting Smarter

Smart technology, meaning Internet-connected digital technology, is also utilized more and more in the trucking industry. This is true for trailers as much as for trucks, as cameras and sensors can now provide real-time performance information. The use of these technologies not only helps drivers monitor load safety, but it can also assist logistics professionals in routing more efficiently.