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The trucking industry has enjoyed steady success for the past decade, and understandably so. This is because the freight transportation and logistics industries have made distance and volume non-issues for the agriculture, food, and retail industries. Moreover, current trends indicate the trucking industry will remain profitable for the foreseeable future.
According to Business Insider, most grocery stores would start running out of food in only three days if long-haul truckers were to stop working. In other words, US consumers’ seemingly limitless choices depend upon the efficiency of US truck drivers.
In fact, data show that trucks move 71% of all the freight in the US. Additionally, 6% of all the full-time jobs in the United States revolve around the trucking industry.
The Trucking Industry Is Facing a Driver Shortage
In 2018, the American Trucking Association reported that the industry needs almost 900,000 drivers to meet growing demand. In fact, this shortage of drivers is practically a crisis, forcing companies in the trucking industry to scramble to attract new drivers.
The current imbalance could favor drivers who want shorter routes that would allow them to return home frequently. Currently, many truckers drive long distances, staying out on the road for days or even weeks on end.
Self-Driving Trucks Could Play a Role—Eventually
Self-driving trucks will eventually play a role in the trucking industry. However, they probably won’t be a reality any time soon. All the same, the underlying technology is currently in development.
In fact, one blogger reported that in October 2016, a self-driving tractor-trailer made a 120-mile trip in Colorado to deliver beer.
However, multiple technological challenges lie ahead for self-driving vehicles of any kind, much less self-driving trucks. It may be several years before such vehicles fill our streets and highways. Today’s truck drivers likely have little to worry about in this regard.
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What Is the Industry Outlook for 2025?
ATA Business Solutions via Cerasis made the following predictions:
- There will be a freight tonnage increase of 23.5% from 2013 to 2025
- The growth in overall freight volume is estimated at 1.0% through 2025
- The trucking industry’s share of freight tonnage will increase to 71.4% in 2025
- Rail intermodal tonnage will grow 5.5% annually through 2019, and 5.1% a year through 2025
The Trucking Industry Is Showing No Signs of Decline
According to these statistics, the freight transportation industry is showing no signs of decline. However, emerging technologies could bring unanticipated changes to companies that are involved in the freight industry, including the trucking industry.