Professional truck drivers have long been responsible for safely transporting the bulk of America’s goods from one location to its end destination. These hardworking and reliable individuals have transported freight for decades from ports to warehouses and distribution centers to retail outlets.
With the current pandemic and supply chain issues, dependence has become even more important. In addition, many trends have affected and will affect the role of truckers and the trucking industry in the future. As truckers carry out their duties in 2022, they will face more changes and new demands. Many of these will likely benefit truckers and create opportunities to find truck driving jobs near you. The industry and the driver’s role will be reshaped in many ways by the opportunities and challenges posed by others.
Despite the lack of reliable crystal balls, the following trends can help every driver anticipate how the coming months will affect them:
Trend#1. Technology’s increasing influence.
In the last decade, digital logbooks have replaced paper logs, new tracking and routing capabilities have been implemented, and many new safety features have been added. More “smart” solutions will be integrated into trucks and how they are operated shortly. Software and related technologies, such as data analytics, will become more important as companies respond to customer demand for full access to “tracking orders.” Of course, autonomous vehicles will become more prominent by the end of the decade.
Trend#2. Distributing and producing in new ways.
With the restructuring of the industry, companies are reconsidering where their hubs should be located. Among the factors driving their response is building new warehousing and distribution facilities.
The second part of that unprecedented shift in logistics is the centralization of manufacturing and various units (flatbeds, reefers, dry vans, etc.).
Trend#3. Fuel costs.
Fuel has always been an important cost component for operators. As market prices have fluctuated due to demand and supply, new factors are entering the picture. In 2022, alternative fuels and even electric vehicles will become more prevalent and affect large firms in the industry.
Trend#4. Bankruptcies and mergers.
The bad news concerning trucking companies in 2021 is that an exceedingly high number of them failed, while some of the larger established firms merged with others. It led to the loss of 4,000 to 5,000 trucking jobs. The good news is that other firms could easily replace these jobs due to the driver shortage. Consolidations are also reducing inefficiencies and enhancing efficiency throughout the industry. Other advantages include more efficient routing and speeding up technology implementation in many areas.
Trend# 5. Price adjustments.
People are often not aware of the unusually low trucking rates and prices they have enjoyed. As a result, truckers have been paid less. Whether or not prices will increase in 2022 will depend largely on whether or not logistics problems depress current prices or prevent growth. A huge trend that is expected to increase demand for trucking capacity at the local and national levels is the ongoing impact of e-commerce.
Finally, the recently passed infrastructure bills and the new investment in roads and bridges should become significant by mid-to-late 2022. Drivers are aware that this may negatively affect them for a short time but be beneficial in the long run.