What the Trucking Industry Can Expect in 2021
- February 06, 2020
- Madeline S.
Last year was tough for everyone and every industry. Even though trucking was deemed essential during the pandemic, the industry was still hit hard. Transportation and trucking have already begun to bounce back, and experts predict that 2021 will be a good year for the sector. What exactly can trucking companies expect in the New Year, though? Here are a few things industry experts are predicting will happen in 2021.
Continued Job Growth
Many industries struggled when the pandemic first hit early last year. Transportation and Logistics companies were deemed essential, meaning they were allowed to operate even as other businesses were closing down fully. However, a number of major companies were still forced to close, and the industry saw heavy layoffs.
The industry has been bouncing back, though. Trucking employment numbers have been increasing for the past eight months, and experts say that will continue in 2021. While total employment numbers for U.S. trucking were lower in December than the previous year, they have been growing steadily. This trend will hopefully continue into the New Year and will likely soon see pre-pandemic numbers.
The good news for carriers is that rates for dry vans, flatbeds, and reefers are expected to stay high. At the start of the pandemic, rates were hit due to the global supply chain being in flux. Things have since settled down, and the industry is now mostly back to normal. While the supply chain is back up and running, many businesses are still shuttered, relying primarily on online sales.
This shift towards online sales has put even more pressure on the transportation industry to deliver goods on time. The increased demand and tight capacity mean increased rates for most transportation. This will likely continue into the first quarter for the New Year but may begin to level out again if businesses start to re-open again.
E-commerce has been on the rise for years, but the pandemic pushed it into overdrive. With physical retail locations still in lockdown or under restrictions, online sales have become a major focus. The transportation and trucking industry has been increasingly shifting towards online sales for a while, but this holiday season saw it ramped up even more.
Even when COVID-19 gets fully under control, it is unlikely that the eCommerce shift will fade. Trucking companies should expect the industry to stay focused on online sales. This means looking into last-mile distribution centers, hiring more drivers, and investing in trucking technology to stay on top of orders.
Trucking is set to have a good 2021; however, there are still challenges the industry will face. The pandemic continues to be an issue that companies will have to contend with, but companies can help mitigate the challenges by staying flexible and informed.
Trucking businesses should continue to invest in the latest technology and trucking software while embracing the newest trends, such as e-commerce.
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