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10 Jul 2018

Tracking Trucking Trends

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Capacity crunch, rising rates, disruptors and changing behaviors have been noted as possible 2018 trucking industry game-changers, according to Forbes. It is evident that there are some cause and effect relationships between these trends.

The capacity crunch of 2018 has been a popular topic across recent transportation literature, webinars and conferences. The reasons for the crunch can be contributed to several different factors and continues to be a concern for shippers.

Van, flatbed and reefer spot market rates were on the rise in 2017 and have continued upward in 2018. Contract rates have also been on the rise since mid-2017, though at a steadier pace. These rate increases have been attributed to the industry preparing itself for both tight capacity and the decline in driver availability. The combination of rising rates and diesel prices means certain freight bill increases.

Regulatory changes and new technologies are often disruptors in the trucking industry. Some recent regulatory disruptors include hours-of-service changes, ELD implementation, new state-implemented toll charges that are applicable to cargo-carrying vehicles, implementation of the Food Modernization Safety Act (2016), and the recognition of smart contracts as legal instruments in a few states. Technologies that have been identified as disruptors include IoT devices used for monitoring and tracking, new software that allows easier contracting for freight, and even new ‘sharing’ apps, such as those offered by Uber Freight, Convoy and Amazon, that allow a quick connection between available carrier capacity and
ready-to-ship freight. 

These trends are all converging to drive a fourth trend—changing behaviors. As rates have steadily increased, carriers have become more selective in choosing shippers with whom they work. Alternatively, shippers are working hard to increase their appeal to carriers by reducing pickup and delivery delays, improving treatment of drivers, and paying freight invoices in a more timely manner.

No matter the trend, carriers want to operate in a safe environment, shippers want freight delivered on time, and all parties want to be paid or billed correctly. AMTR helps shippers navigate industry changes, whatever they may be, by ensuring freight overcharges are not an unintended consequence.

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