More Challenges Facing the Trucking Industry in 2014
With the next decade predicted to be one of strong and steady growth, the future of the commercial trucking industry looks bright. But, as Jeff Crissey, editor of Commercial Carrier Journal, recently pointed out, a shadow could cast a pall on that growth if the trucking industry is unable to meet four important challenges.
In addition to a projected driver shortage that has the potential to cripple the commercial trucking industry (see our previous post), Crissey says the industry must overcome the following hurdles:
2. Freight pricing. Freight demand is slowly rising, but pricing remains uncomfortably flat compared to load growth. For the commercial trucking industry to meet growth expectations, prices will need to keep pace with tonnage. But some industry watchers warn that the only way to solve the problem is by squeezing out marginal truckers which will increase the heat on independents and small companies.
3. Regulation. This could be the straw that breaks the camel's back. As Crissey points out, the new hours-of-service rule has already cost the industry 3% to 5% in productivity. The coming implementation of mandated ELDs could have an even more disastrous impact. If the feds keep mucking about in trucker affairs, trucking could go the way of farming with small operators pushed out in favor of the big carriers.
4. D.C. political climate. As long as Republicans and Democrats are at each other's throats, full economic recovery simply isn't possible. The uncertainty that accompanies Congress' crisis-mode politics will continue to be a drag on the economy and the trucking industry.
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