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Capacity was not a huge issue in 2016, but it is bubbling to the forefront in 2017. Here are four reasons why.
A steady increase in the cargo load-to-truck ratio began late last year and is continuing. The volume of freight that needs transporting in relation to the number of qualified and available trucks to move it is squeezing capacity.
Diesel fuel prices are on the rise and experts predict that they will continue to go up throughout 2017. In fact, the average price of diesel fuel increased 2.4 cents in early April, reaching $2.55 per gallon. The price is now 44.1 cents more than it was in the same period in 2016. Higher fuel prices can put a crimp in profits to the point that fewer trucks are able to operate.
By some estimates, the impending ELD mandate could decrease trucking capacity by 3% to 5% because some independent truckers and smaller truck companies do not have the financial resources to install ELDs and will therefore cease operations. Some estimates of lost capacity are even more dire, saying that it could be between 6% and 10%. Brokers worry that their costs will increase with fewer carriers from which to choose.
Potentially coming down the pike are new federal rules that will require testing drivers for sleep apnea, creating a database of drivers who have failed drug tests and more. These kinds of regulations can lead to fewer drivers, fewer trucks on the road and less overall capacity.
As rules, regulations and circumstances evolve, so must the trucking industry. It must adapt to meet the challenges of today so that it can thrive and continue carrying the nation's cargo across its highways well into the future.
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