Freight and Shipping


 Freight and Shipping

The logistics and shipping industry is enormous, with a market value of over $300 billion. That's enough to make it one of the largest industries in the world. It’s also one that is constantly evolving as new technologies enter the marketplace.

You'll learn about these trends, their impacts on businesses and consumers, and what you can do to stay ahead in this ever-changing industry. You'll hear from major players on all sides of the freight equation--suppliers, carriers, manufacturers and retailers--to get their insights into how this multi-billion dollar industry will change in the coming years as supply chains increasingly depend on just-in-time delivery models.


Total freight and shipping revenue in 2012 was $3.07 trillion according to the Freight Transportation Research Institute. The total value of freight transportation for the world in 2012 was $7.91 trillion, or 42.2 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $14.65 trillion, by value. To understand how much a shipment costs to ship you can use these tips..

The National Transportation Atlas Database data released by the Federal Highway Administration shows the number of trucks on U.S. roads has remained relatively steady, at somewhere between 4-5 million trucks traveling on American roads every day. The US economy's dependence on trucking is evident in these numbers as well, with the exception of the oil embargo in 1973 and the subsequent gas crisis (taking a chunk out of freight demand) when truck drivers were forced to idle their trucks and wait hours to fill up at gas stations, this market has grown steadily without any real decline in demand for truck drivers.

Trucking employment fell from 4.16 million jobs in 2000 to a low of 3.86 million jobs in 2009, due to the recession and significant cuts in transportation budgets. The number of drivers also dropped from 2.6 million jobs to 3.4 million jobs, as the trucking industry continued to experience an expansion in employment, as shown in this chart by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics; issues-releases/cb06-05.cfm

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), trucking is a $700 billion industry. The American Trucking Associations state that by 2015, the U.S. economy would need an additional 1 million drivers, or approximately 563,000 drivers per year for the next five years to keep up with demand for freight transportation and trucking companies look for many ways to hire new drivers; some include scholarships, college credit courses and driver training courses.

The U.S. Trucking Association (USTA) give some statistics on the industry and their view of the future of freight; 
The US freight industry has experienced dramatic growth over the last several years. The trucking industry has grown by 25-30% over the past 5 years because of improving economy, low fuel prices and rising consumer demand for goods and services. Over this period, truck tonnage has increased by about 50%. This is a 14-fold increase over a 100 year period. And that number doesn't include what is coming in new technology, such as driverless vehicles, which will have even greater impact on the industry as they become more widely used in the near future.

The trucking industry is a significant user of the roads in the United States, with an annual revenue of over $200 billion. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) estimates that almost 200,000 miles are used annually to transport freight in the United States. this includes both trucks and trains for hauling freight around the country. There is also a significant amount of truck traffic on interstate highways, such as Interstate highways, as seen below:

The US transportation department's traffic counts have continually shown record breaking numbers since 2008, including 2011 which saw total vehicle travel increase by 5.9% to over 2 trillion miles driven; 
In 2011, overall vehicle travel rose 5.9% to over 2 trillion miles, an increase of 535 billion miles from 2009. The total number of vehicles on U.S. roads hit a record high in 2011, with 98,913,000 vehicles on the road (counting all types of vehicles).

The above Traffic Volume numbers show that the trucking industry is also a major factor in the growing congestion on U.S. highways as well as in terms of air pollution. Because trucks are by far the most common way people transport goods there are concerns whether or not we should have fewer trucks on the road and those concerned about climate change and air quality would prefer that more freight be moved by rail rather than by truck (especially when it comes to transporting crude oil). But, even with concerns over whether to prioritize the use of trucks or the use of rail, there has been an increase in rail's share of freight transportation over the past 10 years. This can be seen below in this chart:

The above chart shows that rail is making a comeback and that during this time period (since 1993) freight volume has increased by only 2.4% but rail's share has grown by 6.5%. At the same time as this trend towards more rail movement is starting to occur, electric cars are also making their way onto U.S roads and in 2015 they will account for over 1% of all miles driven which is up from 0.7% in 2013 indicating a continued increase.

In May 2011, the American Trucking Associations (ATA) released information about the size and scope of the trucking industry. This includes a breakdown of employment numbers, regulatory information and safety issues as well as some concerns about their industry. Some key points from that report include:
The trucking industry is a significant user of the roads in the United States, with an annual revenue of over $200 billion. The total number of vehicles on U.S. roads hit a record high in 2011, with 98,913,000 vehicles on the road (counting all types of vehicles). This is 3% percent increase over 2010 and 14% higher than 2009 which had 93 million registered vehicles.


From this report it can be concluded that the trucking industry is a large, growing and important part of our economy. It is also a significant user of the roads and has a significant impact on our environment. While some of the trends reported (such as the continuing growth in trucking employment) indicate it to be a healthy industry others are showing signs of concern, with the impending rise in traffic congestion on U.S. highways along with freight transportation being moved by rail rather than by trucks for environmental reasons. There is still much to be learned about how these issues affect truck drivers and their families as well so further research needs to continue into this aspect of this important trade industry.


Post a Comment