Our economy depends on goods being transported from one place to another. While there are multiple ways this can be done, the most common and possibly cheapest way to ship products is by semi truck. There are many trends that affect the industry this year that could trickle down to consumers. Here are a few of those trends.
The freight industry is in desperate need for professional drivers to haul the loads their customers hire them for. They are offering incentives and raising the wage for those who get their license and sign on with them. They are reaching out to minorities and women to entice them into this type of career.
Salaries to be a truck driver will most likely increase until this void is filled. Companies are also challenged to find employees who can pass the required drug tests. With some states considering certain substances legal, it can be difficult to define what results can be considered when hiring a driver.
Advances In Technology
Every aspect of the trucking industry has been affected by technology, from systems in the cabs themselves to within the corporation that hires the drivers. Global positioning services can track where the trucks are, how long they have been on the road, and how many deliveries have been made.
This system assists companies in overseeing that their employees follow how many hours they have been driving before their required rest. Customers can be billed electronically through freight factoring companies and receive payment the same way. Compliance and safety scores are also being calculated digitally and can be received almost immediately once the information is gathered.
Changes In the Economy
The current imbalance of the national economy has taken its toll on the trucking industry. Tariffs have reduced the amount of goods that need to be transported to and from international ports. Other nations are sending their investments to other places other than this country. This could drastically affect the profits obtained by freight companies in future years. These corporations will need to consider some other avenues to keep their revenue high in the fluctuating economy.
Roads In Poor Condition
Another thing to consider when looking at upcoming trends in the freight industry is what roads are doing to the wear and tear of vehicles. Some of this comes from states who are unable to afford the maintenance their highways truly need. The patching that they are able to do may last only a short while before the entire area needs redone. Other problems stem from natural disasters that destroy the infrastructure entirely.
While this may do little damage to the trucks themselves, it does add miles to a journey that was once much shorter. Trucking businesses must calculate new ways to get the products to their customers while keeping fuel costs at a minimum. This can prove even more difficult if the storm is happening when the shipment is enroute to the end user. Improvements to the dispatching center will help alleviate these situations when they arise.
The vehicles themselves could change in the near future. Vehicle manufacturers are designing trucks that run on electricity or an electric/hydrogen hybrid instead of fossil fuel. While a few have been introduced into the market already, more models that are ecologically friendly and fuel efficient will be coming.
Many corporations have pre-ordered these models and plan to use them when they are delivered. There are also prototypes of self-driving trucks much like the self-driving cars that have been unveiled to the public. A few have been tested to see if they are safe on the roads and practical to use. There will also be a trend towards more voice activated options in the cabs of semi trucks and the use of artificial intelligence to assist the driver with maintenance.
Changes In Federal Laws
One last item that seems to be changing soon is the clash of federal transportation laws with individual state laws. Recent legislation seems to point that rules at the national level will relax so they fall in line closer to what the state laws require. The points that seem to be changing are those related to the hours a driver is required to rest and the design of the sleeping quarters in a cab. However, even though there seems to be the indication of changes coming on the horizon, it could be several years before they take place. These trends in the transportation industry can change both their business and the lives of the consumer who will receive the product in the end.