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Trucking Industry Outlook 2023

Jump to: Issues to Keep an Eye on | Key Trends in 2023 | How Freight Companies Can Approach 2023

The trucking industry in the United States has faced multiple challenges over the last few years. Rising fuel costs, increasing insurance claims and driver shortages are just a few things that have impacted the trucking economy. The forecast for 2023 shows that many of these issues and others will continue to affect the trucking industry. 

Some trends, such as the growing use of technology and shifting consumer spending habits, are permanently changing the freight industry. Learn more about what is going on with the U.S. trucking industry in our trucking forecast for 2023. 

Issues to Keep an Eye on

Several economic and labor-related issues have started affecting the trucking market over the last couple of years. In 2023, these issues will continue impacting trucking companies or become even more considerable challenges for the market. 

These are some most significant issues facing the trucking economy in 2023: 

Changing Labor Regulations 

The passing of California's Assembly Bill 5 is changing the industry's view of independent contractors. Assembly Bill 5 states that anyone who provides labor or services in exchange for payment should be considered an employee rather than an independent contractor. The only time workers can be regarded as independent contractors is if they meet three criteria: 

  1. They can work outside of the control of the employer.
  2. The tasks performed by the worker are outside of the typical business course of the employer. 
  3. The worker is an established independent contractor or tradespersons.

Truck drivers are seen as employees according to the bill, as delivering cargo is the usual business of the trucking and transport industries. Other states may follow in California's footsteps and adopt similar regulations governing independent contractors and employees. These bills can affect how transport companies work, as employees and independent contractors are covered differently by labor laws

Rising Cost of Insurance Premiums

A report by the American Transport Research Institute (ATRI) states that insurance premiums rose by 47% from 2009 to 2018 in response to the higher litigation payouts for accidents involving transport vehicles of any kind.

As insurance premiums increase to cover rising payout and litigation costs, transport companies of all sizes face financial uncertainty. The continued threat of theft and increasing cost of commodities, labor and repairs, medical treatment and litigation fees are also likely to affect insurance premiums.

Truck Driver Shortage 

The American Trucking Association (ATA) claims that the trucking industry may be short 160,000 drivers by 2030 unless action is taken. This has led to driver pay increasing as companies seek to attract and retain drivers. In 2023, the driver shortage issue is expected to become more prevalent as demand for goods increases and the aging workforce looks to retire. 

Equipment Shortage 

The COVID-19 pandemic created a semi-truck shortage. Pressure continues to be placed on labor markets worldwide, including in the U.S., resulting in lower manufacturing rates. Combined with global supply chain congestion, this pressure has resulted in fewer new trucks available on the market. As a knock-on effect, fewer used trucks and equipment are up for sale as companies cannot upgrade fleets. 

Fuel Costs 

The fuel cost is set to increase in 2023, with Brent crude oil expected to reach $92.36 per barrel, nearly $20 dollars more than in 2021. The retail price of gasoline may reach a high of $3.51 a gallon. While this is lower than the $3.99 a gallon in 2022, fuel expenses are likely to rise, affecting transport operations across the country.

Key Trends in 2023

Key Trends in 2023

A few trends will impact the freight market in 2023 on top of the labor and economic issues the sector faces. Some of these trends include: 

  • Technology integration: Freight companies increasingly rely on technology to assist with every aspect of fleet management, from driver behavior to preventive maintenance. 
  • Changes in consumer spending: The pandemic accelerated the shift towards e-commerce across all industries, resulting in an increased demand for last-mile deliveries. Now, consumers are turning to a blend of traditional and e-commerce retail experiences, which may see slower growth in e-commerce demand. This blended approach to retail will impact the need for cargo transport and final-mile deliveries. Even as inflation eases, consumers will continue to look for ways to cut costs by focusing on essential goods and services. 
  • Increased maintenance: With new and used trucks harder to source, the focus will now be on maintaining and extending the life span of existing fleets. Other rising costs mean maintenance may become a priority for many small and medium freight companies to cut back on additional expenses. 
  • Focus on safety: Despite tightening belts, safety remains a focus for the freight industry in the face of rising insurance costs and the lack of equipment. There is likely to be a push toward improving driver behaviors to reduce accidents and limit legal action along with the need for repairs or new trucks. 

How Freight Companies Can Approach 2023

Knowing what issues the transport industry faces and some significant trends can help freight companies prepare for the year's risks and opportunities and help your company weather the ups and downs. The biggest step you can take toward proactive action is streamlining your business and finding ways to reduce costs without impacting service delivery and driver safety. 

One of the best ways to do this is by embracing technology. Fleet management software can help you monitor driver behavior, analyze fuel usage and implement effective preventive maintenance schedules. Toll management solutions are an effective tool that can make managing paying tolls easier and cheaper.

Using one system lets you manage all toll payment needs in one place, reducing the amount of admin for drivers, fleet managers and the accounting team. It can also reduce the number of costly violations resulting from unpaid tolls, making inter-regional trade easier and preserving crucial route information. Using a transponder and a toll pass solution can help drivers get through tolls quicker, easing congestion and helping them deliver goods on time.

Be Ready for 2023 With Toll Management Solutions

The 2023 freight market forecast has highlighted issues impacting the industry. It has also shown how technology can assist trucking companies by lowering costs and helping to improve performance through data insights and automated tasks. 

For over 20 years, Bestpass has been trusted by fleets and tolling authorities to provide comprehensive toll management solutions that simplify toll payments for all parties. 

Our toll management platform is a one-stop solution that can save you time and money by managing toll payments, handling disputes and providing you with essential tolling data. 

Let Bestpass Change Your Outlook On Tolls

If you want to experience effortless service fleet toll reporting for your company, look no further than Bestpass. We offer the best toll pass for service fleets, providing a platform that makes it easy to understand bills and save time and money. When you sign on with us, you can expect fast implementation, toll discounts and comprehensive coverage.

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