Driver Shortage: Driver capacity is at its lowest since 2005, with a ratio of one truck being available for every 12 loads so far this year, according to DAT Solutions. (1) With the ELD mandate taking effect last month, drivers retiring and the struggle to recruit the younger generation, as well as government regulations such as hours-of-service, the American Trucking Associates reported that the industry will need nearly 900,000 additional drivers to satisfy demand. (2) This capacity crunch has caused many shippers to either delay shipments or pay more to get their freight moved.
Rate Increases: Along with capacity restraints, the new year brought with it extreme weather conditions. DAT Solutions reported an increase in the national average of truckload spot rates for the week ending Jan. 6, with van pricing rising 19 cents week over week to $2.30/mile and reefer rates increasing 25 cents to $2.71/mile, in part due to shippers requiring such equipment to keep their freight from freezing. (3)
Fuel: Fuel is on the rise with the national average diesel cost increasing 2.3 cents to $2.996 per gallon this week, a 39.9 cents increase year over year. (4)
Vehicle Orders: In order to replace older equipment, attract drivers, and increase capacity, Class 8 truck orders increased in December 76% year over year, making it the highest in three years. (5)
Commute Time Study: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is currently accepting comments on a requested study that would survey 12,000 registered CDL holders (both truck and bus drivers) on their commute time to work. The agency believes that the greater the commute time between a driver’s home and workplace leads to “excessive fatigue while on duty, creating safety concerns for both the CMV driver and other drivers on the roads.” (6) The study awaits the White House’s Office of Management and Budget’s approval.
Additional Information: Read our investigative report, 2018 Trucking Industry Forecast and Expectations, here.