The trucking industry is in pretty good shape when it comes to fuel costs and demand for freight carriers, but in the ever-changing economic landscape, what are some of the major concerns facing trucking companies?
- Cost of fuel
Obviously the cost of fuel is always an issue. The benefits of lower diesel are that trucking companies have been able to increase freight rates and make more money. This has offset the cost of increased salaries, necessary health care coverage, and regulations that limit driving hours. Shippers have been prepared to pay the extra surcharge since the overall cost of fuel is down, but once diesel prices rise, there could be resistance to the extra surcharges.
- Attracting drivers
Attracting drivers is certainly essential when running a successful trucking company. In a recent blog about the changing face of the trucking industry, we discussed the ways trucking companies need to adapt to retain current drivers, and attract new drivers. A major issue continues to be an ongoing shortage of drivers. Best Transport covers this topic in an article about the five important issues facing the trucking industry. The reasons they suggest for the shortage are:
- Lack of job security – a truck driver changes jobs approximately eight times in a 30 year career, and may experience unemployment for several months in between jobs. This may put potential drivers off the industry.
- Job difficulty - trucking is harder than many drivers imagine until they secure a job. A percentage of truck drivers leave their jobs as a result of the grueling schedule and demands on their time.
- Long hours - drivers tire of the long hours on the road, and may end up finding jobs closer to home and their families, not in the industry.
Driver shortage means that many trucking companies have to pay higher wages to retain talent. While fuel prices are down, there is room to increase wages, but there is a constant need to juggle to stay ahead of the curve.
- Government regulations
Government regulation, and safety requirements are obviously in place to keep truck drivers safe by demanding high standards of safety for all trucks. These government requirements are still a huge cost for trucking companies. Anti-idling regulations are there to protect the environment but compliance costs are considerable. Other costs that must be taken in to consideration are federally mandated insurance, and the requirement for onboard truck monitoring.
The good news is that with the increase in the US economy, and the global economy as a whole, there is always demand for transportation of goods. An increase in global demand means an increase in the amount trucking companies are able to charge. While there are always issues to overcome, the trucking industry continues to prosper.