Long Distance General Freight Trucking

Industry Profile Report

Dive Deep into the industry with a 25+ page industry report (pdf format) including the following chapters

Industry Overview Current Conditions, Industry Structure, How Firms Operate, Industry Trends, Credit Underwriting & Risks, and Industry Forecast.

Call Preparation Call Prep Questions, Industry Terms, and Weblinks.

Financial Insights Working Capital, Capital Financing, Business Valuation, and Financial Benchmarks.

Industry Profile Excerpts

Industry Overview

The 47,600 long distance general freight trucking companies in the US provide truckload (TL) and less-than-truckload (LTL) transportation services between cities and across the country. TL trucks carry a load for a single customer, transporting the load directly to its destination. LTL trucks carry goods for more than one customer and make multiple stops to drop-off and pick-up freight. These trucking firms transport a wide variety of goods and may also provide services such as warehousing, packaging, and customs brokering for international transport. Long distance trips typically exceed 250 miles.

Volatility of Fuel Costs

Fuel consumption is a major expense for trucking companies, with nine miles to the gallon of diesel considered a good MPG range.

Rising Need for Drivers

Because of truck drivers’ difficult lifestyle and time spent away from home, many companies have trouble finding and retaining qualified long-haul drivers.

Industry size & Structure

A typical long distance general freight trucking company operates out of a single location, employs fewer than 20 workers, and generates about $5-6 million annually.

    • The long distance general freight trucking industry consists of about 47,600 companies, which employ about 823,500 workers and generate about $257.6 billion annually.
    • The truckload (TL) segment of the industry accounts for 88% of firms and 71% of industry revenue. The less than truckload (LTL) segment accounts for 12% of firms and 29% of industry revenue.
    • The TL segment is fragmented with the 20 largest firms representing 30% of the segment’s revenue. The LTL segment is concentrated with the 20 largest firms representing 77% of the segment’s revenue.
    • Large companies include Schneider, Old Dominion, YRC Freight, Swift Transportation, JB Hunt, and Werner Enterprises.
                                  Industry Forecast
                                  Long Distance General Freight Trucking Industry Growth
                                  Source: Vertical IQ and Inforum

                                  Recent Developments

                                  May 17, 2024 - Prices Unchanged
                                  • Long distance general freight trucking firms kept prices unchanged during the first quarter of 2024, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Long distance general freight trucking industry employment and average wages for nonsupervisory employees were unchanged during first quarter of 2024 period despite reports of ongoing driver shortages, according to the BLS. Long distance general freight trucking industry sales are forecast to grow at a 3.56% compounded annual rate from 2024 to 2028, slower than the growth of the overall economy, according to Inforum and the Interindustry Economic Research Fund, Inc.
                                  • Some trucking companies that are struggling to hire new drivers blame the driver shortage on people no longer being “into the life” of trucking, according to industry news site CDL Life. “I just don’t think people are into the life of being able to live on the road for a week at a time,” said Ken Pratt of Ken Pratt Trucking. Pratt says that most of his drivers are 50-70 years old and will soon retire, leaving him without enough drivers. He added that he notices misconceptions about the life of a truck driver the most when he’s training new hires. Some people looking to get into the industry don’t realize how emotionally and physically demanding it can be, especially now that trucking is not as glamorized as it used to be back in the day, he noted.
                                  • Shippers, consumers, and regulators are requiring a more holistic view into how goods are produced and delivered due to logistics challenges and inventory shortages caused by the coronavirus pandemic, according to Transport Topics (TT). A more complete view of the supply chain will be key as federal and state regulators call upon industries to slash greenhouse gas emissions. Motor carriers and logistics providers have been embracing technology that has helped provide shippers greater visibility into their inventories and freight in transit. “The whole ecosystem changed with the ‘Uberization’ of the supply chain, [with] carriers gaining access to digital tools that enable power only at scale. Rate transparency is enabled through additional tools that shippers can utilize as well, but that is ultimately driven by the carriers embracing the tech,” said Jared Stedl, chief commercial officer at Paper Transport, a truckload carrier, intermodal provider, and freight brokerage. One of the byproducts of the evolution of supply chain visibility is that shippers are expected to be able to provide visibility to their own customers, which they have started to do with varying degrees of success, according to TT.
                                  • Gridlock in the US Congress may prevent the passage of meaningful truck-related legislation in 2024, according to FreightWaves. “We’re likely to see an already slow and increasingly paralyzed Congress slow further as both parties try to prevent the other from notching significant wins,” P. Sean Garney, co-director at Scopelitis Transportation Consulting, which specializes in trucking regulations and legislation, told FreightWaves. “Outside of a few must-pass pieces of legislation, I don’t expect much to get done unless an unexpected crisis emerges. Randy Mullett, a transportation consultant and principal of Mullett Strategies, says that regulation rather than legislation will be the driving force behind trucking policy. “... the regulatory agencies are going to be smelling blood in the water, because we may have a change in administration, and if so, they’ll need to get any regulations out sooner rather than later,” Mullett said, to give final rules time to take effect before a new administration can attempt to repeal them. Proposed rules to tighten standards for independent contractors and on carbon emissions from heavy trucks may be among the few initiatives that advance.
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