In September, demand for freight continued to remain strong. However a combination of tighter capacity and fuel price increases were causes for higher spot market rates. Refrigeration and flatbed freight dropped from August to September according to DAT Truckload Freight Volume Index. The index reflects changes in the actual number of spot market loads moved each month.
Over time, the transportation industry has seen many new regulations passed for various reasons. From electronic log books, lower emission trucks, and increasing the age to have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) these laws were intended to improve the safety of the public as well as protect the environment. The increased tighter regulations have forced companies into compliance resulting in a tougher trucking market. It does not seem that the flow of regulatory actions have ceased, and now there are multiple bills in congress that have drawn public attention.
Plans to build charging stations across the country are being crushed by groups backed by industry giants like Exxon Mobil and Koch Empire. According to utility commission filings, these groups have challenged electric companies’ across the United States. Electric utilities are seeking approval on building charging networks in locations such as shopping centers and rest stops across the nation. Whereas the petroleum sector, represented by multiple trade associations and industry-funded political groups, and consumer advocates say they should not have to pay for these services. Stating, their customers will have to pay for the investments helping utilities “pad” their balance sheets. Fossil fuel interests control about 90 percent of the transportation fuel market in the U.S. but are feeling more and more pressure from the electric wave.
The increase in truck driver shortages could be a serious problem for the U.S. economy in the future. Driver shortages were up 20% in 2018 and this trend is continuing in 2019. Within the next decade, United States industries could see the highest driver shortage in U.S. history.
Next week Pittsburgh Pennsylvania welcomes the National Truck Driving Championships (NTDC). The competition is each year by the American Trucking Association (ATA) and is slated to take place 8/14-8/17 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. As stated by the ATA, this long standing competition “has a long history – dating back to 1937 when it was known as the National Truck Roadeo”.