The trucking industry plays a significant role in the United States economy and ensures businesses operate. It is also one of the most extensive revenue streams, hauling above 8 billion tons of goods every year. These account for nearly three-quarters of all goods transported in the United States.
The trucking industry is a vital source of job opportunities, and millions of drivers depend on it to provide for their families. But the turmoil of the past years has caused tremendous changes with shifts in demand, a changing workforce, and new legislation. These have impacted its overall production and development. However, it is safe to say various factors have influenced how the industry functions and different elements have changed how work gets done within this industry.
Keep reading as we explore growing trends affecting the trucking industry throughout 2022.
DEVELOPMENT OF TECHNOLOGY
Technology development has caused widespread improvements in several industries, and the trucking industry is not an exception. Trucking companies are beginning to employ several software programs to help make their operations more efficient and streamlined. Trucks are now equipped with better technology to improve functionality.
These technologies make it easier to track trucks in real-time and empower trucking companies to create streamlined routing. Additionally, AI and machine learning create intelligent predictions, allowing them to make proactive decisions. These changes are likely to increase, and trucking companies will respond better to what it brings.
GROWING FUEL COST
Over the years, fuel costs have steadily risen after hitting low in the pandemic in early 2020. These have impacted the trucking industry and pushed freight rates higher. Fuel costs have always been a significant percentage of overall operating expenses for every trucking company. Additionally, the fuel industry is constantly undergoing fluctuations in market prices due to supply and demand. Today, many trucking companies are opting for other alternatives. These include electric trucks and many more to cut their daily costs. But they need to invest, which is an expense many trucking companies currently cannot incur. However, if the fuel industry experiences a positive growth rate, fuel prices can return to where they were before the decline began.
HIGHER NUMBER OF MERGERS
Many trucking companies went out of business due to pandemics, poor management, and operating administration. And many of them are choosing to go down the alternative route by merging with other companies. According to statistics, others are likely to move in this direction in 2022 if the market does not improve.
Some are merging with existing trucking companies to pool their resources together to withstand the market. Others are uniting with companies from other sectors to expand the range of services they can provide. These allow them to continue their operations and expand to newer territories. It will also help them stay afloat until the market is favorable. Additionally, it adds new efficiencies and eliminates inefficiencies throughout the industry.
INFLUENCE OF URBANIZATION
The growth of urbanization is one of the developments the trucking industry benefited from over the past years. Rural areas are experiencing wide-scale development into urban landscapes, making it easier for trucks to travel through paths they could not. These have widened trucking companies’ customer base and helped them generate more business.
SUBSTANTIAL GROWTH WITH E-COMMERCE INFLUENCE
The e-commerce industry has grown tremendously after the pandemic. Many people prefer to order online from the comfort of their homes instead of visiting a store or showroom. These have made this industry bloom and have helped it become one of the most successful. However, the industry cannot function without the help of the trucking industry. They depend on truckers to get their goods from one place to another. Therefore, the continuous growth in the e-commerce industry is also improving the trucking industry.
With this growth comes both opportunity and challenges. Trucking companies will have ample ability to expand their services. But they will face high fuel costs, a strained supply of fleets, and driver shortages. To deal with the situation, they must be willing to be innovative in their approach to increasing hauls while addressing ongoing supply chain issues.
The trucking industry has struggled with driver shortages for many years. Many older drivers are retiring without replacement. The hiring pool for specialized drivers is dwindling, and many drivers now prioritize quick, thorough, and well-paid carriers. The lack of better pay and long hours on the road every time is now discouraging as many drivers miss spending valuable time with their friends and family. The job also has a high risk of accidents and strict regulations.
HIGHER FREIGHT VOLUME
The demand for trucking services is not likely to slow down anytime soon. According to reports from the American Trucking Association, the national trucking freight volume has increased by more than 60% in 2022. Industry revenue and efficiency have also increased due to new technologies.