Current Trucking Trends That Can Help You Prepare For The Future

May 7, 2012

Sometimes becoming successful in the trucking industry depends on knowing what the current trends are. With the release of the 2012 edition of American Trucking Trends distributed by the American Trucking Association, knowing what's coming can make the difference between surviving in a poor economy and falling victim to the unstable market. One of the best things to come out in the recent report is the fact that trucking still dominates as the preferred choice for freight transportation and continues to be an integral part of the economy in the US.

This can be seen in the fact that, of the 6.8 million people employed in the trucking industry, more than 3 million are drivers. Although in the past female and minority inclusion in this job market was rare, there are an ever-growing number of drivers making up these groups. In fact, females make up 4.6% of all drivers and minorities account for 32.6%

The large numbers of drivers were responsible for moving $603.9 billion in freight during 2011 and traveled more than 397.8 billion miles. As such, trucks used more than 37 billion gallons of diesel fuel and generated more toxic by-products than almost any other industry. This is one reason why new federal mandates require drivers to find ways to reduce fuel consumption as emissions beginning this year.

ATA further reported that of the over 9 billion tons of freight moved last year, 97.2% of it was moved by carriers that ran 20 or fewer trucks with the majority running fewer than six. This reflected the fact that a huge number of carriers are owner-operators or have small businesses with few trucks. This has opened up new opportunities to those looking to advance in the industry.

Unfortunately, it has also been reported that fuel prices are likely to continue to rise as the demand for fuel increases due to higher consumer spending. One reason for this trend is the crisis in the Middle East that is casting serious doubts over the long-term reliability of oil supplies from that region. The result for drivers are fuel pumps that now dispense the precious liquid at over $4 per gallon, in many states, and it may continue to rise.

Although it was reported that over 300,000 drivers lost their jobs during the recession, 2011 saw a huge shortage of drivers trained to fill vacancies in this field. Of course, the newly revised Hours of Service aren't helping anything and, as a matter of fact, have significantly limited the numbers of hours a driver can spend on the road; hence, leaving a shortage of qualified drivers willing to take on the arduous duties associated with long-haul trucking.

Ultimately, trends in 2011 demonstrated that there is a continued need for more people in the industry, this type of transportation is a vital component of the US economy, and that it will cost consumers more in the long run as the cost of shipping continues to rise. With the North American Free Trade Agreement and US/Mexican cross-border trucking deals, however, opportunities for drivers right now are huge.

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