Getting goods from A to B in the U.S. can be achieved in numerous ways, and yet the tried and tested method of truck transport is still enduringly popular in a variety of contexts.
While revenues may have slipped in 2020 due to the pandemic, it is still an industry which generates over $700 billion annually.
To understand the state of the trucking industry today, and discuss the aspects which leave it poised for potential growth, let’s dig into the details and go over the market pressures that are at play.
Dealing with the driver shortage
One of the points to make first and foremost is that one of the biggest limiting factors which is suppressing trucking industry growth right now is the ongoing driver shortage.
Estimates from the American Trucking Association suggest that at least 80,000 more drivers are needed to meet demand, and that this shortfall will double over the coming 10 years.
Haulage firms are banking on higher rates of pay and other incentives to coax new drivers to get trained up and enter the workforce. This also means that there are opportunities for owner-drivers to get involved, especially as affordable second hand vehicles are more widely available, and finding Peterbilt 579’s for sale is a breeze.
As you can see, the driver shortage poses a conundrum for the industry as a whole, but also proves how robust it is right now. Once this obstacle is removed, growth should follow swiftly.
Taking advantage of cutting edge technologies
While the basic process of transporting goods has not changed at its core for decades, there are all sorts of tech advancements at play today which have overhauled efficiency and kicked the industry up a gear.
Smart solutions which are able to track orders, adjust routes and delivery schedules on the fly, and even reduce fuel use to drive down costs are all having a positive impact on this sector.
In addition, customers are being kept in the loop more consistently, and last mile delivery is a totally different beast than even just a few years ago.
All of this combines to make life easier for drivers, while also boosting customer satisfaction and convenience, both in the B2C and B2B spaces.
Benefitting from the rise and rise of online shopping
Arguably the most important stimulus for growth in the trucking industry is the continued uptick in e-commerce activity.
This definitely got a boost thanks to the COVID-19 crisis, accelerating the rate of adoption of online shopping at a time when bricks and mortar stores were either closed or facing significant restrictions.
In spite of the return to relative normality, the consumers who had their retail habits reshaped during periods of quarantine seem to be sticking to their guns and reaping the benefits of e-commerce.
While previously trucks would have been used to transport goods to retail outlets, now they are rolling out to regional distribution centers, from which the last mile delivery can be carried out in smaller goods vehicles.
As this trend shows no sign of losing steam in 2022 or beyond, the growth potential of the trucking industry is sure to be bolstered by this fact.
It is not always straightforward to predict the future of any industry, particularly one like trucking which has seen surprising volatility in the recent past.
However, there is a lot of enthusiasm and optimism in many corners of the industry, and while the road ahead may not be completely without potholes, the long term prospects are solid and the destination rewarding.