For supply chain managers working to make the most of road freight, these trends in truckload shipping promise to shape the industry for the foreseeable future.

No matter how supply chains are responding to changing consumer behavior and structural shifts in the economy, truckload shipping is going to play a major role in any operation. From shorter delivery timelines to the rise in small parcel shipping, road freight has the capacity to adapt to the evolving e-commerce economy — as well as changes in the traditional B2B space.

Understanding these changes is a necessity. In fact, of all the freight moved throughout the United States, more than 70% goes on trucks. This means that stakeholders across the shipping and logistics industry should develop a firm grasp of the ins and outs of the truckload shipping sector.

So what trends are shaping this part of the modern supply chain? From growing trucking capacity to greater technological integration across fleets, truckload shipping in 2019 is easily one of the most rapidly developing methods of freight transport in the industry. If you’re curious what these structural changes are and how savvy supply chain managers are taking advantage of them, take a look at the following trends.

Expanding Fleets

While there are signs that the strong truckload market of 2018 is moderating as we move further into 2019, it’s clear that the sector is still in a formidable position. In fact, 2018 saw an increase of 6.6% in truck tonnage — the largest such gain in twenty years.

This is a good sign both in terms of trucking capacity and the industry’s skilled labor shortage. As carriers respond to surging demand by placing orders for new truckload trailers and work to attract qualified drivers from other industries, supply chain managers will be better equipped to secure the capacity they need in order to meet surging demand, especially due to e-commerce.

Increased Incentives for Drivers

As the truckload shipping sector works to keep its strong footing, carriers are offering better compensation packages in order to decrease turnover rates for current drivers and to attract skilled labor from other industries. According to the American Trucking Associations, the driver turnover rate for the trucking sector is on the decline, thanks in large part to better employee working conditions and rising wages.

For supply chain managers, this poses strategic benefits and strategic challenges. While an uptick in qualified drivers means that the trucking capacity shortage will in part be relieved, the higher wages necessary to attract skilled labor might be passed on to carriers’ customers. Making the most of this trend while mitigating its potential costs is up to industry stakeholders.

Tech Integration

With the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, and other Big Data capabilities, carriers have the potential to modernize their fleets, improve their service, and pass on the resultant savings to their customers. Of course, getting these tools off the ground will take time and money, but industry professionals who get that work started sooner rather than later will be able to reap competitive advantages.

For instance, warehouse, transportation, and order management systems (WMS, TMS, and OMS, respectively) will all be more useful integrated with IoT technology and predictive analytics. While they already offer benefits to carriers and supply chain operations that deploy them, updating them with the most current tools available can maximize their potential.

Sustainable Development

While consumers may be flocking to e-commerce for its convenience, it’s popularity has also sparked interested in ways to make supply chains more sustainable. Indeed, the increase in small parcel shipping and the explosion of packaging materials poses new and unique challenges to supply chains interested in minimizing their environmental impact.

Some logistics facilities are already drawing up plans for a more sustainable future. For example, the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles have released proposed plans to reach zero-emissions terminal equipment by 2030 and zero-emissions trucks by 2035. These plans represent a growing interest in sustainable development across the logistics space.

How Primary Freight Can Help

Navigating the ups and downs the logistic space is understandably daunting. From surges in demand to technological changes, this industry presents challenges to businesses hoping to add value to their supply chain and deliver dependable service to their customers. While large operations may be able to handle these challenges internally, small and mid-sized businesses may lack the bandwidth and the capital to do so on their own.

With Primary Freight, however, enterprises of any size and industry can benefit from more than two decades of shipping and logistics expertise. Our team of award-winning logistics professionals knows how to make the most of industry volatility, helping you protect your supply chain whether you’re new to the logistics space or a veteran in search of a reliable new option.

Looking for warehousing and fulfillment support? On the market for integrated logistics solutions? Primary Freight can be your go-to industry partner. If you’re looking to get the conversation started, don’t hesitate to reach out to us today.

If you’d like to learn more about how award-winning shipping and logistics services from Primary Freight, contact us today at (800)-635-0013.