If you’re in the trucking industry, staying up-to-date on the latest trends and challenges is essential. Doing so will help you make informed decisions about your business, ensuring that you’re able to weather any storms that come your way. Here are five of the biggest challenges facing the trucking industry this year.
The Driver Shortage
One of the trucking industry’s most pressing concerns is the driver shortage. This year, the American Trucking Association estimated 80,000 open truck driver positions. That number is expected to grow as more baby boomers retire and fewer young people enter the profession. The driver shortage makes it challenging to find qualified drivers and puts upward pressure on wages, making it more expensive to operate a trucking business. Here are ways you can deal with the driver shortage.
Hire a Recruitment Agency
The United States doesn’t have enough drivers, and you should consider hiring a truck driver from another country. To do this, you’ll need to find and work with a good recruitment agency. Look for an agency with experience recruiting drivers from the country you’re interested in, which can help with the visa process.
Use Technology to Your Advantage
Another way to deal with the driver shortage is to use technology to your advantage. Several apps and programs can help you manage your business more efficiently and connect you with qualified drivers. One such app is Trucker Path, which offers a load board, GPS tracking, and other features that can help you run your business more smoothly.
Rising Fuel Costs
Fuel costs constitute a significant expense for trucking businesses, and they have been on the rise in recent months due mainly to continued uncertainty in the oil market. As a result, the average fuel price has reached almost $4 per gallon this year. It’s a problem that many truckers are facing right now. Thankfully, there are ways to solve this. Here are some of them.
Fuel Tank Transfer
Some trucks in your warehouse might be sitting idle. However, those trucks might have the essential fuel you need. If you want to transfer that fuel, you can invest in a robust tank transfer unit for gasoline and diesel fuel. The unit can quickly and easily transfer fuel from one truck to another. This is an excellent way to save money on fuel costs, especially if you have trucks that aren’t being used.
Your truck maintenance regime needs to be up to par if you want to avoid expensive repairs down the line. So here is some essential truck maintenance you have to do annually:
- Oil Change: This is the most fundamental type of truck maintenance. You have to change your oil every 5,000 miles or so.
- Tire Check: Your tires are what keep you rolling down the road, so it’s essential to make sure they’re always in good condition. Inspect them regularly for wear and tear and be sure to rotate them regularly.
- Brake Check: Your brakes are one of your truck’s most important safety features. Be sure to have them checked and serviced regularly.
E-Commerce and Last-Mile Delivery
The growth of e-commerce has been a boon for the trucking industry but has also brought new challenges. One of those challenges is last-mile delivery when packages are delivered from a distribution center to their final destination. Last-mile delivery is often complex, requiring multiple stops and careful coordination. As e-commerce grows, businesses will be pressured to find efficient, cost-effective ways to handle last-mile delivery.
The trucking industry is heavily regulated, and those regulations are constantly changing. This year, one of the most significant changes will be the implementation of the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate, which requires truck drivers to use an ELD to track their hours of service. The mandate will go into effect in April 2019, and many trucking businesses are still scrambling to comply. In addition to the ELD mandate, there are sure to be other regulatory changes that will impact the trucking industry this year.
Lastly, there’s rising inflation in the country. Inflation rates have reached 8% this year, which is a significant challenge for businesses, especially trucking businesses. With the cost of fuel and other expenses rising, finding ways to cut costs and increase efficiency is essential. Here are ways you can do that.
As we mentioned earlier, technology can be a big help when it comes to running your trucking business. There are many software programs available that can help you with everything from dispatch to GPS tracking. These tools can help you run your business more efficiently and save money.
Outsource When You Can
Sometimes, it might make sense to outsource specific tasks or services. For instance, if you’re having trouble finding qualified drivers, you might consider using a driver staffing agency. This can be a great way to get the drivers you need without going through the hassle and expense of recruiting them yourself.
The trucking industry is facing several challenges this year. However, following the tips above, you can overcome those challenges and keep your business running smoothly. This will help your business grow in no time!