From port delays to high unemployment rates, the transportation industry is facing its fair share of hurdles—and trucking is no exception. However, global trucking revenues have recovered from a nearly 22% decrease when Covid-19 first hit, but they have not yet reached pre-pandemic levels. Trucking companies and shippers are still feeling the shock waves from this global crisis—and facing its disruptive consequences.
Ongoing driver shortages and high freight rates have stalled the return to normal shipping operations. At worst, these obstacles halt cargo delivery, harm vendor relationships, and subject carriers and shippers to catastrophic losses.
But the future of trucking is still bright. By 2026, the global trucking market is estimated to hit $2.7 trillion, surpassing 2020 estimates. Adversity is prompting transformative shifts across this sector—using automation, driver safety concerns, and environmental initiatives to drive innovation.
Instability is a constant threat. But shippers and carriers who employ an adaptive mindset and revolutionary technologies are in an ideal position to navigate trucking trends and disruptions, minimize present losses, and promote future growth.
Upcoming risks for small carriers
When market shocks rock front-to-back supply chains, small companies are often the worst hit. From manufacturers to carriers, the Covid-19 pandemic forced many small businesses to either shoulder substantial losses or leave the market—and new trucking regulations could cause further carrier exits. In the US, a movement to protect driver safety and reduce traffic accidents raises concerns that will adversely impact small trucking companies.
A recent proposal from federal regulators recommends installing speed regulators in trucks that weigh more than 26,000 pounds, reflecting a similar EU mandate for cars going into effect in 2022. This regulation would limit the maximum speed trucks could reach to prevent fatal crashes—giving drivers more time to react and reducing impact speed.
However, the proposal has prompted widely-ranging reactions from trucking industry leaders. Because most long-haul drivers are paid by the mile, some suggest a lower maximum speed may act as an effectual pay decrease and worsen driver shortages.
Additionally, though speed regulators are common in the industry, large carriers are the predominant users—giving smaller carriers an edge over trucking giants. With speed limiters mandated nationwide, small carriers could lose revenue and drop out of the industry.
If this regulation takes effect, shippers must examine carrier relationships to ensure they are not relying too heavily on smaller trucking companies. The flexibility to change shipping modes in the face of delays offers another crucial way to stay ahead. With proactive measures and backup plans, shippers can anticipate disruptions and ensure products arrive on time.
The trucking industry’s sustainability overhaul
From implementing renewable power sources to cutting out carbon waste, sustainability is becoming a powerful driver of supply chain decision-making. As one of the most significant consumers of fuel and across the transportation industry, trucking represents an ample opportunity to implement sustainable practices.
Already, green technology is getting closer to becoming a staple in the trucking industry. Electrically-powered trucks are becoming increasingly viable and attractive alternatives to diesel-powered engines due to recent innovations in charging technology and a movement to become independent of Russian fuel.
The global cost of lithium-ion battery packs—an essential component of electric vehicles—is also projected to decrease through 2030. Over time, these innovations will lower the cost of sustainable transportation for shippers and carriers.
A new era of tech-driven shipping
Sustainable energy innovations aren’t the only way technology can transform the trucking industry. Automation and logistics technology is pushing the trucking industry into a new era—driving supply chain efficiencies, decreasing carrier costs, and enabling comprehensive oversight.
An estimated $5.6 billion was invested in autonomous trucking companies in the first half of 2021—supporting technology that could lower the cost of trucking significantly. This technology can identify pedestrians and vehicles through sensors and cameras and follow traffic laws. Though still an emerging technology, autonomous vehicles have the potential to reduce road accidents and ease the pressure of driver shortages.
Powerful logistics technology like transportation management systems (TMSs) are also automating the management side of trucking. This tool streamlines supply chain logistics like order management and carrier selection—so shippers can quickly adapt to disruptions, consolidate updated carrier data, and automate time-consuming tasks.
Moving ahead with confidence
The trucking industry is evolving quickly, and unexpected obstacles can always arise. In the face of uncertainty, shippers must adapt to the times—employing trailblazing technology to increase agility and resilience.
By harnessing CTSI-Global’s outsourced logistics management, shippers can combine the efficiencies of automation technology, a TMS, and the ease of managed services. When new trends hit the trucking industry, logistics teams won’t have to devote extra resources to adapting their shipments. Instead, our fully outsourced or customized service will quickly switch carriers or transportation modes—all with an eye on a shipper’s customer obligations and bottom line.
Shipment delays and new regulations can throw businesses into disarray. Contact us today to leverage visibility and efficiency for increased growth.