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 128,800 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 128,800 companies, employs 1.6 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

                                May 1, 2023 - Diesel Price Decrease Continues
                                • US diesel prices have decreased to levels not seen since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The weekly benchmark Department of Energy/Energy Information Administration average retail diesel price was $3.656 per gallon on April 24. The price has declined in 21 of the past 26 weeks as of April 24 and is down $1.264 per gallon since October 24, 2022. It’s also the lowest price since a benchmark posting of $4.104 a gallon on February 28, 2022. Prices reached their highest point during the summer of 2022, peaking around $5.50 per gallon. Experts say that the drop can be attributed to a number of factors, such as higher interest rates, warmer temperatures lowering the need for heating oil, and an overall decline in demand.
                                • Decreasing retail diesel prices have been driven by pump prices catching up with earlier declines in futures and wholesale diesel prices, according to trucking industry news site Freightwaves. Some analysts see price increases ahead, however. Goldman Sachs’ head of commodity research Jeffrey Currie expects higher prices by the end of 2023. “Our conviction in the bull case has never been stronger,” Currie said. He cited a lack of significant spare capacity in markets and low inventories for most crude and products, with the result that “you have no buffer to deal with the rebound in demand that is likely to come out of China. As China starts powering ahead, that is going to tighten up the bull market.” He also cited what he forecast as “strong” economic activity in Europe.
                                • 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."
                                • 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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