Trucking Companies

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 147,000 trucking companies in the US provide transportation services for a wide variety of goods. The majority of truck loads are full Truck Loads (TL), meaning a single customer fills the entire trailer. About 29% of loads are Less Than Full Truck Loads (LTL), where freight from multiple customers is consolidated into one trailer.

High Failure Rate

Small trucking start-ups have a high failure rate, with an estimated 85% failing before their second year of operation, according to the National Association of Small Trucking Companies.

Limited Driver Hours

The federal Hours of Service (HOS) rules dictate how long a driver can be on duty and behind the wheel.

Industry size & Structure

A typical trucking company operates out of a single location, employs fewer than 10 workers and generates about $3-4 million annually.

    • The trucking industry consists of 147,000 companies, employs 1.1 million workers and generates over $459 billion in annual revenue.
    • 88% of trucking companies operate out of a single location.
    • One in 4 drivers is an independent owner-operator who owns their truck and contracts out services to trucking companies.
    • About 80% of trucking establishments employ fewer than 10 workers.
    • Large companies include UPS, FedEx, DHL, YRC Worldwide, Ryder, XPO Logistics (Con-way), Penske Truck Leasing, and JB Hunt Transport Services.
                                Industry Forecast
                                Trucking Companies Industry Growth
                                Source: Vertical IQ and Inforum

                                Recent Developments

                                Jul 13, 2024 - Prices Decrease
                                • Trucking companies slightly decreased their prices during the first five months of 2024, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Trucking industry employment and average wages for nonsupervisory employees increased slightly during the first five months of 2024, according to the BLS. Heavy duty truck sales have rebounded from a 2020 pandemic-driven trough to pre-pandemic levels, according to the US Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
                                • The largest trucking companies in North America have been surviving on lower rates and tightly managing their operating expenses as they await a market rebound from a prolonged freight recession, according to Transport Topics. A majority of companies that appear on Transport Topics’ 2024 Top 100 For-Hire Carriers list reported lower revenue and profits in 2023 as a persistent oversupply of freight hauling capacity held down freight rates and gave shippers greater negotiating power. The downward trend was apparent across all segments of the trucking industry, from full truckload to parcel.
                                • 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.
                                • Carriers are contending with too much capacity and not enough demand during contract negotiation season, according to TD Cowen analyst Jason Seidl. Prices can’t come down much more because carriers are still facing higher operational costs, Seidl added. Some companies are expressing optimism for a turnaround in the back half of the year, but Seidl said that he hasn’t seen much data to support that other than what their customers are telling them.
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