trucking trends

Research reveals the latest trends in the trucking industry

The US Trucking Trends report is based on in-depth interviews with BFS clients and a survey of over 250 American transportation businesses across the main carrier types (general freight, etc.).  The report aims to understand the growth aspirations and challenges that small and mid-sized carriers are facing. 

Research took place between Jan 1 and Feb 28, 2019. Participating businesses have fleets of 1-100 trucks.

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trucking trends

Top 5 trends in trucking

  • High growth aspirations - 52% of trucking businesses report growth and 35% expect to continue growing at +11-25%
  • No end in sight for driver shortages - 64% of carriers are preoccupied with finding good drivers; many are increasing pay and benefits
  • Intensifying competition - 66% report they've lost contracts in the past year to a competitor offering prices too so low they are unprofitable
  • Powerless to negotiate T&C's - 37% report that they feel they must accept delivery terms and condition's "as is" or they'll lose business
  • Cutting cost with technology - 1 in 3 businesses plan to invest in predictive maintenance over the next 12-24 months to cut cost

Overview from Mary Ann Hudson, EVP Managing Director of Bibby Transportation Finance

Despite a recent slowdown in the US economic growth, 52% of transportation businesses report they are growing , and 1 in 3 expect to continue increasing revenue by 11-25% over the next 2 years.

Nevertheless, the road ahead will be challenging.

The driver shortage continues to challenge capacity. Consumers are spending more as retailers pay higher prices for delivery. There just aren’t enough trucks to keep America’s goods moving. While that’s not new, it’s intensified by the fact that more than a third of businesses say drivers have quit unexpectedly in the past year with 42% of them citing a loss of revenue of over $10K when a driver leaves.

This leaves trucking businesses counting every penny. 68% confirm that increasing costs are their number one challenge - insurance, maintenance and fuel expenses top the list. While many small fleet owners go into business dreaming of growing their fleet, very few make it past the 5th truck* and 66% of respondents say they’re losing contracts to competitors charging unsustainable prices.

Many trucking companies feel that they cannot influence the terms and conditions of the contracts/loads they take or they’ll lose business. Unfortunately, this can have an adverse effect on the business with 1 in 3 reporting that they’ve had to pay penalties as a result.

Trucking companies are also looking to control costs through technology. Nearly half say ELD is the technology that will have the biggest impact in the next three years and listed predicative maintenance as the number one technology to invest in over the next two years.

Though the transportation industry still faces some of the same challenges as in recent years, the overall outlook is steady for this in-demand industry. We hope that you find this report useful and that the findings help you better navigate your road in the years ahead.


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