Shale gas boom could significantly impact transportation companies

Shale gas extraction is quickly changing the American energy industry, but it also has a significant impact on other sectors of the economy. Transportation companies have seen a boost as shale gas exploration becomes more common and companies begin the extraction process in an increasing number of areas. States such as Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Louisiana and North Dakota , which all currently promote the drilling, could see a greater need for transportation services in the future.

Shale gas and its transport to the market could be even more important as the coal industry continues its decline, according to the Beaver County Times. Coal shipments dropped by as much as 16 percent last year, while deliveries of petroleum products were up more than 54 percent, the newspaper reported.

Research indicates shale will help transportation businesses 
New research from RBC Capital Markets and the Economist Intelligence Unit indicates companies in various sectors - including the transportation industry - could see major business changes as the shale gas boom continues. The survey results indicate companies are examining risks, models and opportunities that may arise as a result of the increased shale drilling. Fifty-two percent of respondents think the increased extraction will make U.S. businesses more competitive.

"The coming years will be transformative for companies, particularly those in the energy, infrastructure, manufacturing and transportation sectors, which will, in turn, create opportunities for both investors and corporations," said Richard Talbot, co-head of global research at RBC Capital Markets. 

This isn't the only research indicating shale production will provide additional demand for trucking companies. A recent Benesch survey indicated 97 percent of national respondents believe the extraction of this resource will positively benefit the transportation industry and 55 percent of respondents claimed they have seen their business grow since 2009, thanks to the additional drilling. 

Coping with increased workloads 
Because shale gas is anticipated to have such a large impact on transportation companies across the nation, it's important for them to be prepared with the right technological solutions. Fleet or transportation management software can help managers stay aware of any developing situations, improve productivity and streamline billing procedures. Companies looking to cut their costs while increasing business may benefit from routing software that can help them determine the best sequence of stops and most direct and fuel-efficient routes for drivers to follow each day. Route optimization software automates the trip-planning process to increase productivity from trucks and drivers and save fuel while reducing planning times, cutting company expenses.