Expected gain in future freight volumes

Trucks have long been a popular and efficient way for businesses to get supplies to production lines, merchants and consumers. With more manufacturing coming back to the U.S., companies are increasingly relying on the transportation industry, as drivers deliver raw materials, supplies and finished products via the most direct route.

Strong growth anticipated
According to a new report from the American Trucking Associations (ATA), trucking will become more vital in the coming months and years. The ATA's latest "U.S. Freight Forecast to 2024" projects a significant increase in freight volumes over the next decade. The report projects an overall leap in freight revenue of 63.6 percent, to $1.3 trillion annually by 2024. The trucking industry will see its share of that revenue rise slightly from 80.7 percent in 2012 to 81 percent in 2024.

Truckload volumes are expected to jump 3.2 percent through 2018, and another 1.1 percent each year from 2019 to 2024. The tonnage the industry is responsible for carrying is projected to increase from the 68.5 percent seen in 2012 to 70.8 percent by 2024.

These gains are in stark contrast to the expected increases for some other modes of freight transportation. Rail carloads are expected to rise just 1.5 percent through 2018 and a mere 0.4 percent from 2019 to 2024. The ATA projects this will result in a drop in market share, from 14.8 percent in 2011 to 14.2 percent in 2024.

"The trucking industry continues to dominate the freight transportation industry in terms of both tonnage and revenue," said Bob Costello, ATA chief economist.

Handling the jump in business
Given the expected leap in the trucking industry, it will be crucial for fleet managers to ensure they are handling pickups and deliveries effectively, no matter if their drivers are completing long-haul, regional or last mile delivery. Completing additional stops can become confusing, especially when runs aren't properly scheduled.

As transportation companies see an increase in freight tonnage, they will need to use new technology to ensure deliveries and pickups are completed on time and drivers are adhering to a strict schedule. By using route planning software, fleet managers will be able to better optimize runs, accommodate client requests and savings in regard to fuel expenses.