Trucking is one of the biggest industries in the world. The trucking industry is worth nearly $1.1 trillion in the United States as of 2020, as it is responsible for most of the overland freight movement in the country. The size of the industry is almost unfathomable, but surprisingly, other industries come close. For example, the airline industry will likely reach nearly $800 billion in 2021, even after their recent troubles.
Other transportation industries are smaller but equally important. For example, maritime transport is worth $150 billion, and the locomotive industry is worth $18.6 billion. Even the smallest of these industries is impactful for our economy, and it’s essential to consider them. The trucking industry can learn from each of these industries, and they can all succeed together to help the economy thrive.
So hat can the trucking industry learn from these industries? This article will break it down.
One of the major costs that all of these industries face is fuel. Fuel makes up to 60% of a trucking fleet’s budget, and it can be even more for planes, trains, and ships.
A lot of fuel goes to waste in all industries. For example, in the largest trucking fleets, managers have trouble keeping track of idle time and unauthorized use of vehicles without proper fleet management software. In airlines, certain airspace and airport inefficiencies waste 5% of fuel burn each year.
If fleets can eliminate these issues, that would cut down on some fuel costs, but it is not enough to make a dent in the massive expense that fuel takes up. This is why many industries are moving to work domestically “until some kind of Chinese/European stimulus becomes apparent, which should bode well for trucks, rails [and] airlines.”
Many transportation companies are taking up “nearshoring.” Nearshoring is the practice of transferring operations to a nearby country instead of a distant one. In America’s case, this means instead of sending operations off to China or other Asian countries which is the common practice, goods would be produced and transported locally. Labor isn’t as cheap as it used to be, so companies are looking to cut costs on transportation. In most cases, America would transport goods from South American countries, meaning fewer miles need to be covered by plane or truck.
One other benefit of nearshoring is reducing some of the congestion that ports currently experience in the West due to so many shipments coming from Asia. Reducing this congestion would improve the flow of shipping worldwide, advancing the international economy. If shipping moves more quickly and smoothly, this can improve various world factors, from the environment to long-term rising fuel costs. It would benefit all industries, including maritime transportation, which currently experiences heavy traffic and long delays. At least for the time being, nearshoring seems to be an ideal solution for many of the problems that the transportation industry is facing.
Resolving the Driver Shortage
One of the most public and prominent issues in the trucking industry is the shortage of drivers. As of 2019, the trucking industry needs about 30,000 more drivers annually to fill their needs.
The airline industry faces a similar shortage and needs about 25,000 drivers annually. However, the airline industry is taking action to combat this shortage. They have set up a summer academy for students 14-18 with the Aviation Career Education (ACE) academy to educate children to become pilots, mechanics, flight crews, and administration. They even have access to simulators so they can experience flight firsthand.
The industry is working to administer many flight programs in high schools all over the country to excite students about becoming pilots and ensure new people are coming into the field. Academies like the ACE Academy teach math, science, and geography with a twist towards aviation, giving kids a unique and fun learning experience.
The trucking industry can adopt a similar method of teaching younger children how to drive large vehicles, explore the country and see new places, and learn about the world through experience. In addition, they can learn from the airline industry to excite youth and get young blood into the trucking industry before it ages out.
There are many ways that these transportation industries are similar and must work together to keep the American economy strong. Therefore, we all must learn from each other to keep operations running efficiently. To keep up to date with what’s going on in the trucking industry, follow our blog!