After working in the trucking industry for the last 30 years in various capacities ranging from risk management for multiple LTL and truckload motor carriers, and providing insurance services to trucking companies for the previous 18 years, I have seen many different changes to the industry.
One thing that has been constant throughout my career is that to stay ahead of market changes, you have to reinvent yourself and your company every day to survive and continue to be successful in the trucking industry. The strategies and ideas that may have worked yesterday or last month should be reimagined and adjusted to stay competitive. Keeping safety and risk management at the forefront of your trucking business should be a top priority for any trucking company looking to remain competitive.
While the economy continues to adjust for inflation, the end consumer of goods are seeing the cost increases in transporting freight. It costs more to transport goods, whether dry cargo, refrigerated freight, or flatbed freight. Prices are rising, but trucking companies often don't see the benefit of rising transportation costs due to the increases in expenses necessary to operate a trucking company. During my years in trucking, I have never seen fuel surcharges not help bridge the gap of rising fuel costs. This last year, fuel costs went up but did not adjust back to more manageable prices for the industry with fuel surcharge increases. This, coupled with the decrease in freight rates, has been an issue for many trucking companies. In 30 years, I have never seen fuel costs increase and freight rates decrease.
Trucking companies must keep up to date with the market trends for the various expenses that they pay every month. The costs to operate a trucking company have consistently increased for the last few years. Knowing what these expenses are and how they affect a trucking company is essential to staying competitive so that you can better equip yourself to stay ahead of the market. Expenses like fuel costs, truck payments, driver salaries, accident costs, and the cost of goods shipped are necessary expenses but can get out of hand unless you plan ahead.
Another industry factor affecting the cost of operating a trucking company deals with the truck and trailer themselves. Over the last few years, semi trucks and trailers have become more expensive. The used truck and trailer market has skyrocketed, causing the replacement cost of equipment to increase as well. It is also more difficult to get replacement parts on equipment due to manufacturing and labor issues. This causes an increase in downtime or the inability to replace aging equipment.
As the trucking industry begins 2023, motor carriers must keep up to date with industry trends in order to stay competitive and ahead of the market. Knowing what expenses affect your fleet the most is essential for preparing for future increases in those expenses. Maintaining equipment is vital to running an efficient trucking company, and knowing the state of the equipment market can help trucking companies plan for issues that may arise. The trucking industry is vital to the framework of our economy, and when it struggles, the United States struggles with it. Trucking companies across the country will continue to evolve and adapt to changing market conditions so that the products and goods necessary to keep our country running continue to move safely and effectively.