The only thing constant in truck driving (besides the miles)
Truckers see their line of work influenced by economic
factors, regulatory controls, industry progress, and many other factors. This
is why it is so important for carriers to keep an eye on things and understand
how their industry is shaping up.
2017 was a better year for trucking than 2016. Will that
trend continue? Drivers and trucking managers may be excited to hear that 2018
could be just as productive, if not more so, for their industry.
Improved demand among receivers, first-time technological
breakthroughs, reworked tax rates, and pending infrastructure improvements
could all impact trucking in the coming year.
Trucking Associations’ projections can provide a glimpse into the coming
months. Both truckload and less-than-truckload (LTL) freight volume is expected
to rise by 3.4 percent, and the gain is expected to stay at that level for the
next several years.
While there are plenty of opportunities to be had in the
coming year, there are also important risks to plan for as well. Fuel prices
continue to increase, making it another year where carriers will have to budget
this expense carefully. While there are rumors about electric trucks emerging
to break the industry’s dependence on diesel, this won’t be accomplished in
time for carriers to avoid high fuel costs in the coming year.
Another problem that carriers must stay on top of during the
year is the driver shortage. Carriers still can’t retain the level of talent
they need, putting them in a tough spot as demand continues to grow in contrast
to shrinking rosters.
driver shortage is expected to grow worse as freight demand increases,
creating a situation where carriers will either be forced to invest in new ways
of brining in talent or perhaps looking to make a portion of their fleet
driverless. But, like electric trucks, driverless trucks are expected to change
the industry in a big way in the future – but they won’t be around in time for
2018, at least not in large enough numbers to help mitigate the shortage.
Carriers that have prepared for the regulatory changes and
increased demand this year will have an opportunity to enjoy great success. But
all carriers, regardless of their side, must be aware of the prospective
challenges the year presents to the trucking industry.