After an unprecedented year with serious financial impact, trucking companies are understandably eager to see what is to come in 2021. As the pandemic winds down, the transportation industry can get a better idea of trends that will shake things up this year.
Here are some of the most relevant trends affecting trucking companies.
Truck Industry Trends
In 2020, people were strongly encouraged to stay home and avoid shopping outside. Many malls shut their doors to lower infection rates. It’s no surprise that data shows e-commerce is on the rise across the country.
Much of the economy was negatively affected by the pandemic, but this market has only grown. Anyone looking to avoid crowded spaces could shop online or make use of the services designed to provide easy delivery.
Increases in online purchases are positive for the trucking industry, because trucks generally supply the transportation. E-commerce includes so many businesses, and it’s a significant aspect of the freight market.
Freight volumes on durable goods like home improvement items have picked up since last year, suggesting that this trend is here to stay.
Increased Reliance on Grocery Stores
There has long been a strong connection between the trucking industry and grocery stores. Trucks are a vital part of the supply chain that connects goods from shippers to everyday consumers.
Since the start of the pandemic, consumers have bought less food from restaurants and started buying more food at grocery stores. This trend suggests that transporting food and other goods to the market is going to be more important than ever.
Trucking Market Trends
As the trucking industry continues to have growth, more transportation companies are starting to use data analytics to make business decisions. This trend could change logistics for the transportation sector.
Traditionally, truck drivers plan their own paths. However, data and logistics could help trucking companies plan out more efficient routes. Businesses could also keep metrics on drivers to learn more about their driving habits and efficiency and take into account what those habits mean for the company.
Some metrics have been developed to track seatbelt wearing, speeding, and other behaviors. This can be useful for any trucking company wanting to make their operations more efficient.
Analysis of this data will be vital, of course, because the industry will need ways to make sense of this content.
Trends in the Trucking Industry
2020 destabilized many industries, but the trucking industry wasn’t badly affected. However, trucking rates have been low since 2019. To keep up with the competition, many trucking companies lowered their rates.
Growth in the trucking industry could result in changes to current freight rates. If freight demand stays up, that could be a boon to the transportation industry.
Other factors that affect pricing include freight volume, truckload capacity, and the overall market. Commercial trucking insurance is one more expense that tends to affect the cost of service.
The world is always advancing in terms of technology, and this include the trucking industry.
Machine learning refers to the ability of computers to learn from data sets and figure out patterns. This trend is already in use for GPS, song suggestions on apps, and more.
One suggested use for this technology is to reduce the number of miles that trucks are spending driving empty. It can do this by predicting the arrival times of freight, and optimizing driving plans by using data analysis.
It can also be used to forecast the amount of traffic on the road, and road conditions. These technologies have the potential to transform the logistics industry and introduce new strategies to fleet owners.
This technology provides an easy way to create reliable, detailed purchase records that are difficult to change. This method is far more reliable than anything password-encoded. A savvy company will want to include this new technology as part of its business operations.
The supply chain can benefit from Blockchain because it encourages transparency and makes it easier to trace materials. So many elements come together to encode the details of your supply chain, and the result is very secure.
Increased Cost of Fuel
The cost of fuel has always been influential on the transportation industry. It’s one of the biggest costs for most transportation companies, and there’s no easy way around it.
Fuel cost affects the logistics and cost of any trip, and prices can be different around the country. Prices are always increasing, and in the past, companies have had to accept that fact.
This could cause the cost of trucking services to increase as a result. There are some new options for companies that want to invest in options that avoid traditional fuel, though.
More Development Around the US
The US has long been known for wide open spaces, with plenty of rural areas in the middle of the country. However, continuing urbanization means that there are few truly remote areas left.
This is great news for those in the transportation industry, because the trend toward development makes it easier to comfortably move throughout the US. New, better roads give allow truckers to reach more potential customers.
Shippers in formerly remote areas are easier to get in touch with now, and people can expand their transportation businesses.
Alternative Fuel Trucks
Collectively, truck drivers drive millions of miles each year. Modern trucks have much better fuel efficiency than trucks from even a few decades ago, but they still create emissions.
Biodiesel is a potential alternative fuel option for trucks in response to increased fuel costs. It creates less air pollution, and is made up of a combination of recycled oils and animal fat. Some people look to electric trucks as another alternative to pricey fuel, though this isn’t a widespread trend just yet.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What role did technology play in transforming the trucking industry in 2021?
In 2021, technology played a crucial role in the trucking industry by improving efficiency, safety, and connectivity. Innovations such as advanced telematics, GPS tracking, electronic logging devices (ELDs), and autonomous driving technology helped streamline operations, optimize routes, and enhance communication between drivers and fleet managers.
How did the adoption of electric trucks impact the trucking industry in 2021?
The adoption of electric trucks gained momentum in 2021, driven by growing environmental concerns and government incentives. Electric trucks offered lower operating costs, reduced emissions, and quieter operation, making them an increasingly attractive option for both long-haul and urban transport applications.
What was the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the trucking industry in 2021?
The COVID-19 pandemic led to increased demand for transportation services due to the growth of e-commerce and changes in consumer behavior. The pandemic also accelerated the adoption of digital solutions, such as contactless delivery and remote work, and highlighted the importance of contingency planning and supply chain resilience in the trucking industry.
How did the driver shortage affect the trucking industry in 2021?
The driver shortage remained a significant challenge for the trucking industry in 2021, leading to increased recruiting efforts, higher driver wages, and investments in driver training and retention programs. The industry also explored new approaches, such as autonomous trucking technology, to address the ongoing shortage.
What role did data analytics play in the trucking industry in 2021?
Data analytics played an increasingly important role in the trucking industry in 2021 by helping companies make data-driven decisions to optimize operations, reduce costs, and improve safety. By analyzing data from telematics, GPS systems, and other sources, companies were able to identify trends, pinpoint inefficiencies, and implement targeted improvements to enhance their overall performance.
Protect Your Trucking Company
No matter what trends affect truck drivers in 2021, they’ll need the best, most affordable commercial trucking insurance available. SoCal Trucking Insurance helps you protect your company from damage or theft. Call or email us to get a free truck insurance quote and learn more about the options available at SoCal Trucking Insurance.