Motor Truck Cargo- Economy Still a Major Concern for the Industry
According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, trucks moved more high-value, time-sensitive commodities than any other mode of transportation in 2023. Trucks carry all types of goods ranging from high-value commodities like electronics and grocery and convenience store items to bulk commodities like gravel, grain and gasoline. The post-pandemic period has been difficult for many in the trucking industry. Carriers have been struggling with inflationary pressures, decreased freight demand and rising operational costs. The market dynamics impact companies differently. Small operators continue to exit the market due to rising diesel costs and falling freight rates. Most of the growth has been in the medium and large for-hire fleets who have seen an influx of drivers, many from the challenged owner-operator space.
Analysts across the industry this year suggest that there has been a gradual improvement in the freight market, although many caution that the market is still under stress. As we approach the holiday season, most trucking companies are not anticipating a dramatic shift in the current market dynamics. The latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that 5,000 trucking jobs were eliminated in October. Analysts see this as an indicator that most trucking companies feel that existing staffing levels are appropriate for the holiday season. Industry surveys suggest that most players in the market don’t anticipate a greater turnaround in market dynamics until the second half of 2024.