Issues facing the LTL and FTL markets

While freight volumes continue to be high, there are several major issues facing the trucking industry in the United States. Among the top of the list is capacity issues combined with driver shortage. One study shows that as a whole, the truck driver population in the United States is aging. One of the biggest obstacles faced by trucking companies or carriers is recruiting quality drivers. With an increasing number of candidates who express a lack of interest in spending long periods of time on the road or away from family and friends, some carriers are having difficulty filling the available positions.

In addition to labor issues, rate increases also make the top of the list. Driver shortages, economic growth, government regulations, and the impact of weather events have caused carriers to generally increase LTL and FTL rates across the board. It's expected that rate hikes will continue in the foreseeable future. Regional carriers, which have been around for some time, are gaining attention recently. In a business model challenging national ground carriers, they offer an attractive savings opportunity but need to improve coverage and service consistency to gain credibility. It will be interesting to see how much of a factor they become in the future.

Technology and data are critical to continuous efforts to identify ways to make supply chains more effective and efficient. Identifying cost savings from within your existing supply chain, and making smart freight management decisions (both carriers & modes) is gaining more focus and is increasing the need for leading transportation management systems, or TMS, and related detailed shipment data. Most shippers can reduce their freight spend significantly by adopting advanced techniques like consolidation or pooling freight shipments.