The year 2022 looks like a perfect storm for the trucking industry. With an increased demand for freight services, it’s only natural that any well-operated trucking business will grow under these circumstances. Besides, there’s little to no alternative to trucking transportation if we’re talking about local freight delivery for reasonable prices. While some big companies can afford to book a freight plane to distribute their products, smaller business relies only on trucks and their drivers.
Sure, the 2020 and post-pandemic period were rough on the industry, but the recovery seems to be pretty fast. There are many challenges to deal with yet, but overall, experts give an optimistic prognosis for the trucking industry if the trend continues.
The first key factor is the customer experience. A lot of people opted for online shopping and fast delivery while staying on lockdown ‒ this caused a surge of demand in the industry. Some people were on lockdown and the only way to buy something was for them to shop online. Some people had to move, needing freight transportation services for their belongings. Also, the crisis caused by the pandemic shattered a few existing supply chains while stimulating businesses to build new ones ‒ there was a lot of work for trucking companies despite the economical crisis.
Next, we have a lot of new businesses that need trucking and factoring services ‒ this tendency continues to grow even in 2022, so there should be enough work for every trucking company, especially for the ones that optimized their work by hiring a dispatch office.
An optimistic prognosis for the trucking industry in 2022
Both self-employed and company truck drivers now can benefit from having a lot of orders ‒ the demand in 2022 is huge. This leads to a wider implemention of the competitive payment as well as a surge of new drivers. The experts note that DMV offices are having a record-breaking number of applications as well as CDL schools. That’s definitely a good sign ‒ when there’s competition, there’s a higher pay rate as well.
Though we have to note that while a lot of new truck drivers are still in the training, a lot of “old” ones quit. This leads to the major issue the industry suffers from now: a lack of qualified truck drivers to satisfy the huge demand that showed up on the freight market. Good thing that people still want to be truck drivers ‒ we have a not so overwhelming, but steady rise in the numbers of available truck drivers. The process is slow, but we’ll get there eventually.
Still, trucking companies continue on hiring new staff including truck dispatchers and truck drivers, as well as improve their logistics and expand services list. This is a good sign that the industry continues to grow in 2022.
Some problems that still exist
Despite the surge in the demand for trucking services, the main industry problems are still there. Drugs and alcohol consumption, to be specific. Being a truck driver can be exhausting, meaning there’s always a higher risk to become addicted to mind-altering substances. If the drug addiction is found, this is stressful for the trucking company: you have to send the violator to rehabilitation and then have him back at work ‒ and not everyone chooses to come back! Not to mention that not every driver after the rehab returns with a CDL permit.
The good thing is ‒ new technologies of drug testing are in development. Hair follicle test. for example, is able to see further into the past and define a drug consumption from months before. For the trucking company, that means one important thing: advanced testing methods can stop a lot of drivers from their work, even if they’re clean and sober for months.
Sure, this way the DMV can make roads potentially safer, but for the freight industry, this is direct danger of backlogging and another driver shortage.
Another problem is the increase in fuel taxes. It already happened in 2021, but now the taxes can rise even higher due to the instability of the fuel market. Also, there is a major road renovation program on the way, being another reason for taxes rising. New road constructions also mean some inconveniences for the period of construction, but after that, there will be definitely more opportunities to build safer and shorter routes.
The main victims of these taxes rising are the drivers of heavy-hauling trucks. Having a full load means having more fuel to spend, and even the use of diesel instead of gas won’t fix it. A lot of trucking companies are now looking for solutions although chances are high this is the new reality we have to deal with.
Another problem the industry faces now is even more global. In 2021, the tort reform for nuclear verdicts was implemented, meaning there are high risks of medical costs inflation (more than ever, probably) and some minor market players might have to leave because they can’t afford to pay insurance according to the two million dollar truck insurance proposal. Big freight carriers won’t feel it as much as small carriers will. Paying extra while having your usual revenue is not the best scenario despite the ever-growing demand for trucking services.
In general, the prognosis really looks optimistic ‒ the economic landscape that exists now offers a lot of good opportunities for the trucking industry. As long as you hire sober and clean drivers without a history of such consumption, everything should go smoothly.
And as for fuel taxes, this seems like a temporary although unpleasant problem. Either way, having a professional truck dispatcher by your side will help you reduce fuel usage and optimize your logistics by choosing the shortest routes and biggest loads.
2022 is not over yet, so there might be even more good things to come! For now, let’s see how it goes with the issues described in this article. We’re sure that the trucking industry will continue its growth despite everything ‒ the demand for trucking services is still huge.