Could Changes to Trucking Kill the Long-Haul Model?
Long-haul trucking enjoyed a burst in popularity in the mid-1900s. It has been the dominant option for freight transport over the past several decades, but some trucking administrators say this may be changing soon.
Several qualities made long-haul trucking a lucrative option at one point. Low diesel costs and a larger workforce allowed the industry to benefit heavily from the long-haul model. Even the limitations of infrastructure in the past steered carriers in the direction of long-haul trucking.
Things have changed throughout the years in the freight industry. Not only has the driver pool shrunk, it has failed to keep pace with the demand for freight. Combined with stricter emissions regulations and higher fuel prices, this makes the long-haul option less alluring that it once was. Some even believe the model could become obsolete over time.
The image many people have of trucking comes from the long-haul model. Long trips and extended periods of time away from home have always been common with this type of trucking, and such factors are a major negative for many current drivers.
Though infrastructure has received poor grades from the ASCE in their latest report card, the changes made over the years allow for a greater variety of freight-transport options. This makes long-haul less profitable and further pushes carriers away from the approach.
Administrators at Volvo have spoken about the changes in equipment and the talent pool, saying that the future could very well center around regional routes – with long-haul trucking taking an increasingly minor role in the freight industry throughout the future.