Top 5 Troubling Trucking Trends Likely To Continue In 2019: #1 Capacity Crunch

Though carriers, shippers/receivers, politicians and truck stop chains have taken some steps to improve conditions for truck drivers, not nearly enough has been accomplished.

Little Rock, Arkansas – If you are an avid reader or viewer of Transportation Nation Network (TNN), you are well aware that we follow trucking news and industry trends as closely as any. As we head into a new year, we’ve identified 5 trends from 2018 that we think are likely to continue through 2019.

Here is the number 1 troubling trucking trend we expect to continue in 2019.

#1 Capacity Crunch

Carriers and trucking industry stakeholders continue to wrestle with the challenges presented by the void of CDL holders willing to drive under the current market conditions. Making matters worse is the industry is facing more headwinds. Baby boomers are exiting the profession and younger generations are largely uninterested in pursuing a career in such a demanding line of work for the real and perceived rewards.

 

Perhaps no issue has graced the headlines throughout trucking media or talked about more than the capacity crisis. Legendary football Coach Lou Holtz once famously said, “When all is said and done, more is said than done.” No truer words have been spoken.

The same can certainly be said of this issue. Though carriers, shippers/receivers, politicians and truck stop chains have taken some steps to improve conditions for truck drivers, not nearly enough has been accomplished.

In an effort to compete for drivers, trucking companies have raised driver pay, offered 5-figure sign on bonuses, and retention bonuses. However, according to the National Transportation Institute, 85% of trucking firms recently surveyed indicated they did not link higher driver compensation to an increased rate of attracting new driver applicants.

Further, the American Trucking Associations reports driver turn-over among large long-haul fleets stands at almost 100%. That’s the highest since 2015.

Maybe the biggest hope for optimism is the pending hours-of-service reform. FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez has said he expects the agency to move on HOS reform “sooner rather than later.” More favorable HOS rules could help alleviate the capacity crunch and provide a bit more flexibility for drivers.

 

Bottom Line

Economists continue to predict a strong economy, so demand for drivers will likely be strong throughout the new year. Until carriers compensate drivers for all time worked, shippers/receivers respect trucker’s time by not delaying them unnecessarily, politicians and regulators value truck drivers enough to provide flexibility through common sense regulations; this problem is going to continue well beyond 2019.

 

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