As we head into the second month of 2019, we’ve started to get a good look at what the trucking industry is shaping up to be this year. It’s no surprise that it’s mostly a steady evolution of what we’ve seen happening already over the past few years.
Still, there are changes and challenges on the horizon.
Let’s take a look at some of the key topics people in the industry have been discussing.
Autonomous Trucks are Still a Ways Out
Chances are, self-driving technology will one day affect how we transport not only goods, but ourselves. That day, however, is a ways away. Big companies are investing heavily in self-driving technology. Driver-less taxis are being tested. Self-driving trucks are in development.
But the possibilities are limited by technology, legality, and public concern. Most likely, we’ll see remote operated vehicles before we see AI driven trucks. Either way, for the foreseeable future, real life drivers are needed inside of vehicles.
In fact, they’re needed quite badly.
Growing Need for Truck Drivers
The demand for drivers grows higher and higher every year. The available work force, however, has long struggled to keep pace. A greater shortage of quality drivers means salary increases will continue, with projections showing an increase of 20-50% over what they were less than a decade ago.
Not only are more drivers needed, but younger drivers are strongly desired. We may begin to see propositions to lower the professional driving age to 18.
Leveraging more AI and Data
Technology has become integrated into nearly every part of our lives, and the trucking industry is no different. Virtually everything trucks and freight companies do is tracked and recorded. This allows for more accurate forecasts, timelines, and deliveries, while ensuring that customers always know where their goods are at.
We can’t quite predict the future, but today’s systems can come surprisingly close.
Additionally, drivers and logistic companies will continue to see real-time data influencing their day-to-day actions. Some companies are using AI to predict maintenance, driver behavior, and more. While it can seem a strange that your daily routes and routines are being recording and quantified, it ultimately leads to better efficiency and increased safety.
Continued Growth of Ecommerce
Unsurprisingly, ecommerce continues to grow, increasing the need for timely shipping and logistics management. 2018 was the first year where online sales surpassed brick-and-mortar sales for Black Friday.
Expect the fall and winter to be busier than ever for the trucking world as everyone rushes to meet time-sensitive fulfillment needs.
In 2012, MAP-21 passed, mandating the use of ELDs or “electronic logging devices”. With it came deadlines for implementation. For companies using paper logbooks and older methods of recording RODS and hours of service, they had until the end of 2017 to upgrade.
Companies who were already outfitted with AOBRDs (Automatic On-Board Recording Device) were given until December of 2019. That means any fleet that hasn’t made the upgrade will be doing so soon.
There are some more technicalities and exceptions to this, but you can expect most drivers to be using a newer ELD system by the end of the year to monitor their hours and reporting.
The Rise of Smaller, Independent Companies
There was a time when the big trucking and freight companies could offer tools and benefits that small-to-mid sized fleets couldn’t keep up with. But a changing industry, along with a lower cost of technology has shifted industry’s playing field.
Smaller companies are offering competitive pay, better working environments, more manageable routes, and more flexibility than you might see at big brands like Swift or Schneider. If you’re looking to join the trucking industry in 2019, there are some fantastic opportunities.
In fact, we have some great openings ourselves. For trucking jobs in Baltimore, Chicago, Charlotte, and Springfield, click here. We’d love to have you join the team.