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 119,400 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 15% 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 12 workers and generates about $2-3 million annually.

    • The trucking industry consists of 119,400 companies, employs 1.4 million workers and generates over $324 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

                                Dec 2, 2022 - Diesel Price Remains High
                                • Gasoline prices have decreased significantly from the highs of mid-2022, but diesel prices are falling at a much slower pace. The national average for regular gas was only up 8 cents year over year on December 1. Diesel was $1.51 higher year over year on December 1. Experts say that winter weather is playing a key role in keeping diesel prices elevated. The oils used in heating buildings are very similar to diesel. More of these oils are diverted to heating as the temperature drops, so there is less diesel on the market.
                                • Up to 94% of trucker operator hours may be impacted "if automated trucking technology improves to operate in all weather conditions across the continental United States," according to a 2022 study by researchers at the University of Michigan and Carnegie Mellon University. The study also found that the loss of operator hours associated with the automation of long-haul trucking – trips of 150 miles or longer – would "not be made up both in terms of quantity and quality by short-haul driving work."
                                • Demand for trucking is likely to decrease due to unusually high inventory levels at retailers like Target, Kohl’s, Walmart, and Amazon, according to industry experts. Many retailers appear to have prepared for the holiday season earlier this year, anticipating disruptions in importing goods from manufacturing hubs in East Asia. There’s been “limited indication” of the typical peak season activity that carriers and shippers expect in the fall as retailers prepare for the holiday season, according to analysts at industry news site Freight Waves. Spot rates have already decreased 30% year over year, according to Freight Waves. Trucking’s larger contract market may see mid-single-digit percentage rate declines.
                                • Electric vehicle (EV) companies and environmental groups are lobbying to have 10% of the of $7.5 billion in federal funding approved in 2021 for EV charging infrastructure allocated for charging stations for electric trucks. The group argues that while heavy-duty vehicles account for only 10% of the US vehicle fleet, they account for “45% of the transportation sector’s nitrogen oxide pollution, 57% of fine particulate: matter pollution, and 28% of its global warming emissions.” It also emphasized that commercial electric trucks are often financially competitive with internal combustion engine trucks, but access to charging infrastructure is still a major obstacle to adoption.
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