Last year was a tough time for the trucking industry. While some say it was a year when trucking came back to its normal state, others describe 2019 as a ‘messy,’ or even the worst year for the trucking operators. Oversupply and the impact of the U.S. - China trade war had put carriers under pressure, and many firms dropped out of the game. Tariff increases led to a reduced demand, and the combination of low prices and high costs have caused shutdowns of trucking companies all over the country due to unprofitability. Though the last quarter of 2019 was less messy, the trucking industry is still bringing all of it's problems into the new year. While there probably won’t be such a heat-up, the situation can only be balanced in case of a huge spike in demand from retailers. Uncertain situations in the global economy make it complicated to predict whether the truck market will get stable, and what truckload shipping trends will be in 2020. However, all the trucking companies and carriers should be well prepared for the upcoming year to stay on track.
If in the following year the demand won’t balance supply, most carriers should consider protecting themselves from failure. While many companies went off track during 2019, the number of carriers entering the market is not decreasing. Analyzing market conditions and working on strategies to reduce the chances of going bankrupt will become a top priority for both newcomers and seasoned carriers.
Technology had reshaped the trucking industry in many ways throughout the last decade. From ELD's to advanced tracking tools, freight shipping became more transparent and easily monitored. The trend for more tech advancements in truckload shipping will be among the top trends for 2020. The next year in technology will be about even more visibility, better data storage, and changing safety regulations called to optimize drivers’ working hours.
Because of tight market conditions and fierce competition, many small companies may have to merge with other companies or could be acquired by the bigger players in the industry. Carriers would want to stabilize their job flow, so deploying 3PL's and freight brokers will become more common and helpful to stay relevant at the market. Many experts believe that the outburst of the e-commerce industry can create more demand for capacity over the following years. Also, the situation remains uncertain because of tariff changes and other economic factors. Overall, the truckload shipping trends for 2020 are driven towards safety, technology, and collaboration.