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Top Trucking Industry Trends

Friday, August 18, 2023
Top Trucking Industry Trends

The trucking sector comprises enterprises utilizing large commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) to convey diverse cargo types along designated routes, including raw materials, components, and finished products. This industry is a crucial pillar of the U.S. economy, facilitating the movement of substantial freight volumes and bolstering supply chains across various sectors. As per the U.S. Department of Transportation, the trucking industry transports a staggering 12.5 billion tons of cargo, valued at over $13.1 trillion annually.

In recent years, the trucking industry has continued to promote economic growth. The latest data from the American Trucking Associations (ATA) found that the sector generated $875.5 billion in revenue in 2021, up from $791.7 billion in 2019. Despite this growth, several industry developments could pose challenges in the coming months and years, including driver shortages, social inflation issues, economic concerns and a lack of new CMVs.

With this in mind, it’s critical for trucking businesses to have a clear understanding of the latest sector developments and adjust their risk management practices as needed to maintain operational success. This article provides more information on trucking industry trends to watch.

Driver Shortages

The past few years have been met with labor shortages among businesses of all sizes and sectors. What’s more, the COVID-19 pandemic motivated many employees to reevaluate their job expectations and priorities, thus prompting additional workforce shifts and exacerbating such shortages. The trucking industry is no exception to this trend. According to the ATA, the sector is currently short 80,000 drivers, with this number expected to double to 160,000 drivers by 2030.

Making matters worse, a growing proportion of the trucking workforce is reaching retirement age. Recent research from online recruitment services company Zippia found that the average age of a U.S. commercial truck driver is approximately 48 years old. This demographic shift could create further potential for driver shortages going forward as more employees exit the industry.

Additionally, some states have begun passing legislation to regulate businesses that hire independent contractors, consequently limiting these companies’ available talent pools. For example, California recently passed Assembly Bill 5 (AB5), which requires businesses to classify independent contractors as company employees unless they meet certain qualifications. This means that all businesses operating within the state (including trucking companies) can no longer hire independent contractors unless they are willing to provide such workers with the same rights and benefits as their employees (e.g., minimum wage, health insurance and periodic rest breaks). Looking ahead, states such as Illinois and New York are seeking to pass legislation similar to AB5, presenting additional driver shortage concerns throughout the trucking industry.

While the sector may be able to minimize labor concerns in the future with the assistance of driverless CMVs, this technology isn’t expected to become widely available for some time. As a result, it’s important for trucking

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