Over the course of 2021, the trucking industry continued to play a foundational role in the country’s supply chain operation. In the U.S. alone, commercial trucks are responsible for moving approximately 72.5% of the country’s total freight by weight, making them essential for delivering products and goods.
The truck industry outlook over the year ahead looks to hold firm. And while growth will continue to fuel the industry’s profits, other blockades will motivate innovation. Read on to learn more about what to expect in trucking in 2022.
Continued to Industry-Wide Substantial Growth
The trucking industry will continue to experience substantial growth in 2022. According to the U.S. Freight Transportation Forecast to 2022 by the American Trucking Association, freight tonnage in the U.S. will grow 24 percent by the end of 2022. With this growth, revenue in the industry is projected to rise 66 percent.
Simultaneously, the online food delivery market is experiencing high levels of growth and is projected to reach $33.7 billion by 2026.
With a rising demand for shipping goods and food delivery, the trucking industry looks to experience substantial, ongoing growth. And with this growth comes both opportunity and challenges. Trucking businesses will have ample ability to expand their services. For those interested in growing their business, securing new jobs should be easy.
At the same time, the trucking industry is facing high fuel costs, a strained supply of additional fleet vehicles, and a driver shortage. This will require businesses to be innovative in their approach to increasing hauls completed while dealing with ongoing supply chain issues.
Persistent Driver Shortages
While the demand for trucking services increases, the number of available drivers is not keeping pace. According to the American Trucking Associations (ATA), the industry is short approximately 80,000 drivers. Additionally, the ATA sees this as a continued issue with a shortage that will only increase.
In 2022, many companies targeting new demographics as they expand their search for drivers. Historically, women have only made up 7% of the industry’s drivers, an area where many trucking businesses hope to make a change.
Additionally, companies will be looking for creative ways to recruit young hires as the Boomer generation retires from their veteran roles.
Infrastructure Focus Becomes Increasingly Urgent
The trucking industry’s growth will increase demand for infrastructure improvements. Roads and bridges will undergo excess strain, and more trucks on the road will worsen traffic conditions.
The National Highway System in the U.S. is reaching an unprecedented state of decline, and improvements are not keeping pace. It is estimated that 42% of the 617,000 bridges located in the U.S. are more than 50 years old, and over 46,000 of these bridges are structurally deficient. At the same time, 43% of the four million miles of roadways are in poor or mediocre condition.
In addition to the decline in road conditions is worsening traffic congestion due to a lack of infrastructure. It is estimated that 1.2 billion hours of productivity are lost annually in the trucking industry due to freight bottlenecks. The time drivers spend sitting idly in traffic translates to an added $74.1 billion in operational costs. Environmentally, this time spent sitting idle has a massive toll, creating an added 67 million metric tons of CO2 emission from trucks.
Throughout 2022, infrastructure will continue to be an important topic for industry leaders in the trucking industry. The nation will need to look for ways to speed up infrastructure improvements both locally and federally.
Real-Time Visibility Through Technology
Over the course of the following year, real-time transportation visibility platforms will play an increasingly important role in managing the supply chain. Gartner predicts that by 2023, 50 percent of global product-centric enterprises will invest in these platforms. Through the use of onboard technology and real-time tracking, shipments will be closely followed throughout their transportation journey.
Not only will this technology make it easier to track transportation logistics in real-time, but it will also empower fleet managers to create streamlined routing. Trucks can be dispatched and routed according to up-to-date information, allowing for improved efficiency in delivering goods.
Additionally, Gartner predicts that by 2024, 50 percent of supply chain organizations will have invested in applications supporting the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced analytics capabilities. With AI and advanced analytics, the industry will be able to sift through data and generate actionable insights that can improve efficiency and safety.
At the same time, AI and machine learning can create intelligent predictions about the future, allowing fleet managers and supply chain leaders to make proactive decisions.
The applications for AI and advanced analytics in the trucking industry are vast. From predicting truck maintenance cycles to creating intelligent routing strategies, the future of trucking will involve a heavy reliance upon machine learning.
Safety Takes Center Stage with Driver Assist
As the demand for truck drivers increases, the importance of improved driver safety is becoming a topic of much concern. Due to safety issues, technology will be used to assist in implementing onboard safety features.
According to the McKinsey Global Institute, the future of trucking is predicted to involve the increased use of partially automated vehicles. These vehicles will feature safety technology such as lane assist, adaptive cruise control, and collision avoidance systems.
The goal is to help cut down on the strain placed on drivers, leading to improved safety on the road. Additionally, the implementation of partially automated trucks will help increase efficiency, as these trucks can tap into real-time data that improves routing decisions.
In 2022, Transwest Looks to Be Your Trusted Partner
For those working in the trucking industry, the year ahead proves to be bright. There is ample room for growth and expansion as the demand for trucking transportation increases. However, with that increase in demand comes an array of challenges as well.
At Transwest, our goal is to be your trusted partner in 2022. If you are looking for new commercial trucks to add to your fleet, our team is here to help. We offer a wide selection of new and used trucks designed to meet almost any transportation need. Additionally, our service center can help keep your fleet up and running, allowing you to meet important delivery deadlines. To learn more, find a Transwest location near you.
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