The trucking industry in the US is undergoing massive transformation. In this article, we will discuss some of the trends and technologies that are shaping this million dollar industry and what 2021 holds for truckers and fleet managers.
- Freight demands will slump
The demand for freight is plummeting due to the economic recession and the ongoing trade dispute between the US and China. The imposition of tariffs and export restriction has limited the demand for freights used in shipping goods. Unless the shipping industry gains momentum, the fate of the freight industry will remain dubious.
- Goods transportation rate will dwindle
Many retail companies have scaled down the flow of goods from one place to another. As a result, many trucking companies had to shut down due to lack of work, and thousands of truckers lost their jobs in the process. Unless the influx of goods resumes, this trend is likely to persist.
- Mergers will increase
Unfavorable market conditions have led many trucking companies to close their doors while some opted to merge with other companies to stay afloat in the market. For instance, Carlisle Carrier merged with Cowan Systems, Superior Bulk Logistics joined Heniff Transportation in December and Heartland Express buying Millis Transfer.
Many companies also merged with different sectors to expand their spectrum of services and stay relevant. More companies will opt for merger in the coming year if harsh marketing conditions prevail.
- Production locations will change
Many trucking companies have shifted their production locations in an effort to meet the demand for existing trucks and to conduct their production operations. Dry vans will relocate to Texas, Illinois, and Ohio. Whereas, California & Illinois and Texas & Pennsylvania are preferred locations for reefers and flatbed vehicles respectively.
- Predictability through AI & big data will improve
More and more companies are turning to technology for optimizing their business and tracking their performance. Technologies like Big Data and Artificial Intelligence allow companies to forecast their outlooks and implement strategic and operational decisions.
In the coming years, many more companies will adopt such technologies for real-time data analysis, fleet management, supply chain management, and more.
- Market will plunge
A bearish market has led trucking companies to lower their service charges even further. Fear of going out of business, shortage of jobs, and sagging market are some of the factors that contribute to this trend. If market growth continues to decline, this trend will seep into 2021.
- E-commerce business will flourish
Consumer habits have changed profoundly, especially during the pandemic. Consumers prefer shopping online rather than visiting a store. This is good news for the trucking industry as e-commerce heavily relies on truckers to deliver goods from one place to another. Increasing the adoption of e-commerce will allow for positive growth in the trucking industry.
- Electric vehicles will become the new norm
Electric vehicles are poised to bring massive changes in the mobility space.
Many companies like Nikola, Daimler, and Volkswagen are developing electric trucks that are safe, smart, and efficient. Apart from its advanced capabilities like assisted braking, advanced telemetry and lane-assistance, these vehicles will also bring down emission rates considerably.
As companies continue to innovate and tackle issues such as charging infrastructure and autonomous driving, truckers and trucking businesses must gear up for e-mobility in the years to come.
- Fuel costs will soar
Fuel prices have been soaring over the past few years. This has taken a toll on the trucking industry as the daily fuel consumption of trucks incurs great expense. Although options like electric trucks are available in the market, they come at a cost that many companies cannot afford yet
- Consumer spending will surge
The economy is experiencing a boost from a surge in consumer spending which has increased by 2.1% in the second quarter. It has also propelled gross domestic product (GDP) in April and June thanks to the 4.3% rise in personal consumption expenditures.
- The future will be a connected one
Advancement in technology will usher in a new era in the trucking industry. Innovations like IoT will make a trucker’s life exponentially better all the while improving the supply chain management of a business.
IoT collects data from a network of connected devices such as sensors and monitoring devices in a truck to provide actionable insights such as location tracking, environment sensing, load stability, and fleet management to name a very few.
- Technology will cut costs
For truckers and fleet managers, unforeseen breakdowns herald unexpected problems like driver downtime, delays in goods delivery, towing expense, and spare part & maintenance cost. It is estimated that repairs and maintenance cost an average of $15,000 a year for trucking companies. It is in such circumstances that predictive maintenance proves its worth.
By increasing production line availability by 5 to 15% and reducing maintenance costs by 18 to 25%, predictive maintenance generates substantial savings for your business. That is why businesses are investing in predictive maintenance in the coming years and so should you.
- Shortage of drivers will persist
We discussed earlier about the increase in consumer spending. While this is good for our country’s GDP, it poses a threat to retailers as they need to spend 30% more to move goods via trucks. The reason for this price hike is trucker shortage and it is set to shoot up over the next ten years.
The onset of the pandemic has added to the industry’s woes as shortage increases. One of the many reasons why truckers quit jobs is low income, grueling work hours, and lack of gratuity.
- More opportunities will present in construction
Building construction is growing steadily. These opportunities could further increase if the federal government undertakes more infrastructure reform. This will benefit the trucking industry as more and more truckers will be deployed for the delivery of construction materials and other tariff-affected goods.
- Training will take a new turn
As trucking technologies evolve at an ever-increasing rate, trucker’s training and development should also evolve. Modern training is being implemented across the country, where leveraging virtual reality tools and gamified sessions and digital content created is presented in consumable form for young drivers and existing drivers alike.
Like any other sector, the trucking industry also has its ups and downs. From evolving mobility solutions to ever changing marketscape, the coming years will have a lot in store for the trucking industry. No matter the outset, eForm2290 will keep you informed and help you stay compliant & competent in the ever-evolving world of trucking.