10 Secret Trends In Trucking – What to Expect In Upcoming Years

Truck business principles stay the same over the time. Hard work and smart choices shape the way to success. Delivering on time with the low costs and doing things by law will most likely get you to desired point.

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Still there are trends that everyone in industry should be aware of and adapt to it. Although they are very much related and depended to each other, in this article I have separated these trends into three sections – technology, economy, global political and legal.

The following aspects of trucking industry are, and will continue to be, especially important in coming years.

I Technology Trends

Telematics

Instead of puting definition of this term, it’s more useful to know what telematics means, includes and how it will effect trucking industry.

Telematics as an interdisciplinary field that encompasses telecommunications, vehicular technologies, road transportation, road safety, electrical engineering (sensors, instrumentation, wireless communications, etc.), and computer science (multimedia, Internet, etc.).

Telematics can involve any of the following:

  • the technology of sending, receiving and storing information via telecommunication devices in conjunction with affecting control on remote objects
  • the integrated use of telecommunications and informatics for application in vehicles and with control of vehicles on the move
  • GNSS technology integrated with computers and mobile communications technology in automotive navigation systems
  • (most narrowly) the use of such systems within road vehicles, also called vehicle telematics

Increased use of telematics to provide more data and better insights, is something you can count on in coming years. With a help of devices you can monitor things like policy abuse, or optimize route and PM scheduling.

Rich Zambroski, truck excellence manager at Element Fleet Management said that  telematics can show you what you’ve been missing by providing better insight into your fleet and can help you execute on scalable improvement plans, change driver behavior – which is key for ROI – and measure results.

When manufacturers reach the agreement on a common data bus, and providers start making software functions in sync with all trucks, telematic technology will become default standard.

Self driving trucks

Since Daimler presented their autonomous truck with a truck driver holding a tablet instead of a wheel, there have been debates about the future of trucking industry. Except the more efficient driver who can focus on other work than driving, platooning the trucks is considered to be the biggest advantage of this technology.

Some say that self driving technology is solution to shortage of truck drivers, while others are highlighting the risks and ethical issues. All in all, it’s not coming that soon, but it is surely something a truckers should be aware of.

Fuel efficiency

Researches and implementation of fuel efficiency technology and alternative fuels will continue. Every industry including trucking is adapting to it. You can already see trend in lowering fuel prices.

fuelSource: diariolaeconomia.com

Still, fuel costs stays among the largest in trucking business. Optimizing fuel costs will continue to be one of the fleet manager’s top priority.

The easiest way to do it is using technology that will provide you fuel savings. Among various benefits, Smart Fuel Cap will get you desired savings.

Purchasing modern equipment

Modern softwares, fuel-efficient equipment, adjustable seats and more is getting ordered faster than usual. You can look at this as a proof that keeping up with innovations and improvements have become more important than ever.

new-equipmentSource: www.oficinamanuel.pt/

But, it’s not just the fact that innovations are improving your efficiency and productiveness. To attract new drivers and keep the current ones, companies are purchasing new equipment because modern equipment, and that is the most important thing in managing trucking business these days.

II Economic Trends

Truck Drivers Shortage

Regulations and low pay are considered to be main reasons for this problem. Also, young people are losing interest in drivers profession, even more than they used to.

Whether if it’s caused by regulations, retirements, lifestyle or something else, the fact is the truck drivers shortage is constantly increasing. Currently the lack of truck drivers almost reached the number of 50,000 and ATA projected that shortfall will be 239,000 by 2022.

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As the number of truck drivers is decreasing, the quality of drivers is getting lower too. According to ATA’s study, nine of ten carriers are struggling to find drivers who meet DOT criteria.

“The ability to find enough qualified drivers is one of our industry’s biggest challenges”
ATA President and CEO Bill Graves

Obviously, truck managers can expect lowered drivers quality and increased driver’s wages. Except the money, fleet managers should go for younger drivers and female drivers as a potential workforce pool on the horizon.

One thing is certain, the lack of truck drivers is issue to be solved, and although some would claim otherwise, self driving trucks are still not the answer.

In the meantime ATA proposes the following solutions to address the shortage:

  • Increase driver pay and offer sign-on bonuses.
  • Offer more at-home time
  • Lower the interstate driving age
  • Improving driver images
  • Cater to former military
  • Better the treatment of drivers by companies in the supply chain
  • Autonomous commercial trucks

Higher Rates Due the Tight Capacity

Truckload tight capacity hasn’t been higher in decades.Last year U.S. reacher the highest tonnage of all time. Strong dollar polluted higher demand for imported goods and consequently more freight to be transported.

According to transportation analyst Noel Perry, we’ll have capacity utilization above 100% for six month at least. Good thing about it could be increased rate up to 10%. Higher rates could encourage shippers to grow their own fleets.

All this is coming as a result of U.S. growth. Low inflation and interest rates combined with increased consumer confidence will continue contributing to this growth.

In situation of growing demand, less miles and especially less drivers per truck mean the fleets will have to improve the truck productivity. Hower, regulatory with current federal limits are not helping, and large companies are already pointing at this. The biggest argument against them is increased safety risk due heavier trucks.

Manufacturing and DC’s

As the energy costs getting lower and automatization getting implemented more and more, low-cost labor won’t matter that much. In other words, companies are bringing back manufacturing facilities to U.S.

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