The State of the Trucking Industry FAQ

August 20, 2018 • Posted in Market Insights

In several recent communications and blogs, we have highlighted the challenges impacting the transportation industry – driver shortages, historic demand levels and new regulations. It has become evident that these challenges, which have resulted in soaring freight rates and service disruptions, will continue for the foreseeable future. To better understand these challenges, we have created the resource below, which outlines the latest information and statistics on the state of the trucking industry.

Trucker Shortage

  • The economy is thriving and freight demand is at its highest since 2004 (Transport Topics)
  • More than 70 percent of all domestic goods are transported by truck, which requires more than 3.6M registered trucks and 3.5M drivers to keep things moving (ATA)
  • In Q1 2018, one truck was available for every 12 loads, the lowest ratio since 2005 (NPR)
  • There is currently a shortage of 51,000 truck drivers (CNBC)
  • Average age of a truck driver is 55 years old, only 6% of truck drivers are women (NPR)
  • Large truckload driver turnover rose to 95% in Q3 2017 (ATA)
    • More than 70% of driver turnover happens in the first year of employment (Stay Metrics)
    • 35% of drivers leave within the first 3 months (Stay Metrics)
  • Recruiting the younger generation has become difficult – with the federally mandated minimum age of 21, younger workers are getting their start in other industries (CNBC)
  • Annual truck-driver salaries rose between 15% and 18% from 2013 to 2017 and companies are more frequently offering incentives to aid in recruitment (WSJ)

Increased Regulation

  • Effective April 1, 2018, all truck drivers are required to use electronic logging devices (ELDs) to document their mandated limit of 14 hours behind the wheel. (FMCSA)
  • While the goal for this mandate is to increase road safety, it is causing the early retirement of some drivers and fewer hauls and money for others. (WSJ)

Increased Cost

  • Last year transportation costs rose 7% for U.S. businesses, far ahead of the 4.2% average growth rate over the five years ended in 2017, according to the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals’ Annual State of Logistics Report. (WSJ)
  • Rates on the spot market rose 29% for the most common type of big rig, compared with July 2017 (WSJ)
  • Fuel Prices have steadily increased 19% in the past 12 months, averaging $3.217/gal as of August 13, 2018. (U.S. Energy Information Admin)

American Trucking Association – August 14, 2018: Reports, Trends & Statistics
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration – August 14, 2018: Electronic Logging Devices
U.S. Energy Information Administration – August 14, 2018: Gasoline and Diesel Fuel Update
Wall Street Journal – August 9, 2018: Trucking’s Tight Capacity Squeezes U.S. Businesses
CNBC – August 3, 2018: Where the jobs are: Trucking companies are hiking wages as they struggle to attract younger drivers
Stay Metrics – July, 2018: Is Early Turnover Damaging the Business?
Transport Topics – July 16, 2018: Stay Metrics Analysis Finds New Drivers Spur Higher Turnover Rates
Fortune – June 27, 2018: America’s Trucker Shortage Is Hitting Home
Wall Street Journal – March 28, 2018: Truck Driver Salaries Rising on Surging Freight Demand
NPR – January 9, 2018: Trucking Industry Struggles with Growing Driver Shortage

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