With a strengthening American economy and a renewed sense of optimism amongst many of America’s traditional working classes, 2018 looks set to be a bumper year for the trucking/freight industry. With rates soaring, volumes on the rise and more job opportunities than ever before, a good old fashioned hard day’s work has never looked more sensible.
Without further ado, here are reasons for optimism in 2018.
Rates Are Sky High
As reported by trucks.com, January has seen a shortage of drivers in the industry - and the trend is only set to continue - meaning “small-business truckers are poised to make more than they have in years.”
According to the report by Clarissa Hawes, rates are at their comparative highest since 2005. The story leads with the example of Jim Kienbaum, an independent truck driver who earned double wages moving frozen food and produce from Mexico into Arizona, and back again.
Rates are thought to continue to rise, with a “spring surge” on the horizon.
This upturn in fortunes is not only down to a sheer shortage of labour, but in part because the American economy is growing.
Volumes are up
The strengthening American economy is also having an effect on the sheer number of goods that require shipping. According to trucks.com, last year “freight volume increased 3.7 percent, the largest annual gain since 2013.” Equally, the future looks rosy according to economist Scott Anderson, with a retail sector that is seeing growth all the time. “‘Over the past three months retail sales have increased at an accelerated 11.3 percent annualized pace,’” Anderson said.
Companies that embrace ELDs will get ahead
Electronic logging devices are not necessarily popular, but the companies that embrace the new technology will likely gain an advantage in 2018 Over 500,000 firms are set to be equipped with the devices. Despite resistance, the change is coming, and the quicker independent firms follow the lead of UPS and FedEx, the better-positioned they’ll be to grow from strength to strength.
Tech is here
In May last year, ReCode reported that Uber for truckers has arrived. But fear not because Uber Freight could be very good news for independent truckers in need of work. The app works much like Uber itself, “matching commercial shippers with truck drivers looking for a job.” Cargo type, location and distance all play a factor in the pre-determined fee you’re paid, and surge pricing will net drivers bigger paydays during congested periods.