To make the most profit from your transportation business, you must first know what’s going on in the economy as a whole. With that in mind, here’s a look at some recent trucking industry trends that will impact your wallet, either for good or bad, in the near future.
Trend #1: More loads nationwide
While Europe remains mired in recession, the US economy is coming back strong, as this report points out. Several factors are driving the domestic recovery. These include the following:
- A rising stock market – While Wall Street still has down days, overall the trend is towards higher stock prices for the foreseeable future.
- Housing sales – In most parts of the country, the collapse in home values that triggered the 2008 economic crisis has bottomed out. Home sales have picked up, as has construction. This will help to lift the entire economy out of recession.
- Fuel prices – While they remain too high, prices for diesel have stabilized nationwide. Many economists predict that per-gallon prices will actually start to go down in the coming months due to higher production, overcapacity, and growing competition from natural gas suppliers.
All of this good news has companies stepping up production, which in turn means more loads for truckers. Expect the demand for your services to increase steadily over the next 12 to 24 months.
Trend #2: Nationwide trucker shortage
The downside of the growing need for trucking services is that there aren’t enough drivers to meet the demand. Part of this is due to the fact that many long-term trucking professionals are reaching retirement age. As these veterans hang up their CDLs, there aren’t enough young people interested in the field to fill the jobs that are out there.
This may be good or bad news for you, depending on your own labor situation. If you’re able to recruit and retain good help, then you’ll have an advantage over competitors that are struggling to meet their commitments. Bottom line: be good to your people. Not only will it make them happier, it will help you as well.
Trend #3: Diesel is being replaced by natural gas
Diesel has powered big trucks for so long that it’s hard to imagine the trucking industry without it. Nonetheless, the fuel’s days are numbered, thanks to increasing supplies of natural gas.
If there’s one thing environmentalists and business owners can agree on, it’s that natural gas simply makes sense. Not only does it burn much cleaner than diesel, it also costs less. The Conference Board of Canada recently estimated that switching to natural gas would knock $15,000 a year off the operating costs of the average rig. That’s 15 grand more in your pocket every 12 months instead of the oil company’s bank.
There are two barriers standing in the way of natural gas right now. One is that trucks designed to run on this fuel cost more up-front than ones that run on diesel. The other is that most truck stops and refueling depots don’t yet sell natural gas. These two problems are expected to go away in the next decade, as the advantages of natural gas become better known. Bottom line: if you’re in business 10 years from now, you rigs will almost certainly be running on natural gas.
From looking at these trends one thing becomes clear: success in the transportation industry means keeping up with the times. That includes having the best trucking software in your corner. We’re confident that TruckingOffice is the right tool for you, but don’t just take our word for it; take our product for a free 30-day test drive and find out for yourself. You won’t need to enter your credit card or checking account information. After a week or two you’ll wonder how you ever got along without it.