Economic Shifts Are Impacting Trucking in a Big Way
Truck drivers are used to certain hands in their industry. Regulators, safety experts, and managers all have a say in the way America’s freight gets moved, and the work arrangements drivers find themselves operating in.
There are some obvious factors that affect the commercial freight industry in a big way. The topic of driverless trucks hitting the road or the upcoming ELD mandate are easy picks for the most influential changes out there. However, trucking is evolving because of a new type of change as well – a change to the way Americans shop.
At the FTR Conference in Indianapolis earlier this month, drivers and freight managers discussed how the behavior of consumers is changing. The digital age is changing the way people browse for, order, and receive goods. This, in turn, is having a big effect on the trucking industry.
As deliveries for online orders and customer-centric buying models become more common, trucking will likely move toward less-than-truckload models. This will see shorter routes and smaller vehicles becoming the norm, reserving the tightly packed long-haul trips for special occasions.
Online stores are becoming more prominent, and consequently, brick-and-mortar stores are falling away. This trend is expected to continue, with digital shopping becoming the preferred option by a huge margin in the coming years. Trucking has already adapted somewhat to these changes, working to deliver larger items not handled by parcel services.
Industries like automobile manufacturing will also take a turn toward better long-term solutions, as the auto industry experiences dips soon after peaking in recent years. Even the food-hauling market will change, as consumers will come to prefer localized delivery options rather than being dependent on largescale chains for the bulk of their grocery needs.
As long as buying behavior holds strong, trucking will stay have an important role. With companies trying to get closer to consumers in an economy that is strong but somewhat uncertain, freight hauling may undergo major changes in order to meet these new demands.
Sometimes economic shifts can lead to big problems for carriers, but the current changes freight companies are going through show they’re adapting well to an economy in transition.