Our 2020 Freight Shipping Outlook series comes to a close with a forecast of what FreightCenter customers can expect in the new year. To keep it simple, we’ll break down the freight shipping forecast into the three most significant freight shipping pros and cons shippers could face in 2020 and how FreightCenter will help you tackle your freight shipping needs.
2020 Freight Shipping Outlook Pros
Freight shipping is a complex industry. It can be hard to keep up with the constant changes. Check out these top three freight shipping pros and what they could mean for you in the coming year.
3) Increased Competition
When capacity is very tight in the freight shipping industry (as it was in 2018) carriers know they are going to have full loads. This allows them to charge a little more than they could if there were more for every load. However, thanks to a record number of new truck orders placed in 2018, fleets have more vehicles than ever, which has increased capacity. In 2020, we expect to see carriers competing more vigorously for your shipping business. Rates may not go down a lot, but they should remain affordable and stable all year.
2) Technology Advances
Carriers and 3rd Party Logistics (3PL) companies like FreightCenter are implementing new technologies in order to improve efficiency and reduce human error. Advances in pricing strategies, real-time order tracking and more will be coming in 2020. At FreightCenter, we are always committed to staying at the forefront of technology. We will continue to make enhancements and feature improvements to our innovative Transportation Management System (TMS) and you can look forward to a more intuitive user experience making getting a quote faster and easier than ever. When information gathering is more efficient and more accurate, customers enjoy better shipping experiences.
1) Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse
Beginning January 6, 2020, motor carriers are required to check with the drug and alcohol clearinghouse before hiring a new driver. The clearinghouse maintains records of positive drug and alcohol tests as well as test refusals. Carriers are now required to have current drivers tested at least once each year. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will issue guidelines for carriers that want to test beyond the required urine test. Obviously, safety is the number one factor when it comes to drugs and alcohol, and the clearinghouse will help make our roads safer.
2020 Freight Shipping Outlook Cons
As with any list of pros, there are always a few cons. Don’t let these possible freight shipping cons stop you from shipping. Discover what they are, so you can plan ahead.
3) Driver Shortage
According to the American Trucking Association more than 60,000 truck drivers are needed today, and this shortage could increase to more than 100,000 by 2024. The price-savings benefits of increases in capacity and competition discussed above could be affected if there aren’t enough drivers to operate all the new trucks coming into service. The driver shortage has been recognized as an industry-wide problem for several years. And with the average age of drivers at 55 in 2018, positive steps need to be taken soon.
2) High Driver Turnover Rate
Not only is there a shortage of truck drivers, there’s also a high turnover rate among drivers. It’s likely that these two problems feed each other, as the shortage of drivers can pressure carriers to hire applicants who may not necessarily be a good fit for the company or the position. High turnover puts drivers with limited experience in positions of significant responsibility. As a shipper, you never know how much experience a driver has, but you depend on that driver for timely deliveries and safely packed loads.
1) Highway Funding Undetermined
The amount of traffic keeps rising and our roads and bridges keep deteriorating. The federal government’s mechanism for helping states fund highway improvements expires in 2020. The Trump administration says they recognize that there is a lot of deferred maintenance to be dealt with as well as a significant need to build new roadways, but they say that the federal government cannot help pay for them. Some states have started raising money by making interstate highways toll roads for large trucks. The need for a long-term solution is clear, but that solution is nowhere in sight. How this plays out in 2020 could affect freight shipping this year and beyond.
FreightCenter Finds More Ways to Help You
One positive thing you can count on in 2020 is that FreightCenter will continue to search relentlessly for ways to help our customers succeed. Making it easier to get accurate quotes faster is just one of the improvements you have to look forward to in 2020. Others include additional customer services and programs, technology and tracking enhancements and a commitment to delivering valuable content that answers your questions. As always, our knowledgeable shipping experts are a quick phone call away.
Have something to ship? Get 2020 off to a great start by comparing online quotes from dozens of carriers and then confirming your shipment information with your National Account Manager at 800.716.7608.