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Good news for the 7.3 million Americans who work in the trucking industry! The American Trucking Associations (ATA) industry group continues to predict growth in freight volume and cargo amounts into the foreseeable future. In their report, “U.S. Freight Transportation Forecast to 2027,” their experts are bullish on trucking’s upward trajectory.

Here’s a quick look at the important role that trucking plays in our economy. About 1 in 16 people in the United States is employed in the trucking industry. Some 3.5 million of those trucking industry employees drive trucks: truck driving is the top occupation in 29 states, according to Chris Spear, ATA president/CEO. Trucks move 70% of the country’s freight, which accounts for 56% of the U.S. GDP (gross domestic product). More than 80% of U.S. towns and cities receive their goods and products solely from trucks.

Just as trucking affects the country’s commerce, here’s a look at a few business trends that can be expected to affect trucking in 2017:

  • Driver shortages: With unemployment figures continuing to drop in 2015 and 2016 and the increasing average age of current drivers, the trucking industry felt the shortfall with fewer new recruits into the industry. Today’s average age of truck drivers is 55 and the need to bring in younger drivers will grow as drivers retire.
  • Fleet regionalization: Today trucking companies are taking advantage of more intermodal options and using more ports of entry and drop-and-hook loads. This has resulted in more regional freight service and shorter hauls. E-commerce and more urban fleets are also influencing that shift.
  • Overall economic growth: With growing consumer spending, manufacturing, and international trade, freight volume will increase in 2017. Over the long haul, overall freight by tonnage is expected to grow by 35% between 2016 and 2027, with truck tonnage increasing almost 27%.
  • Growing pipeline usage: Trucks can be expected to lose market share in the oil and gas market to increased pipeline construction.

The trucking industry continues to evolve as transportation professionals grapple with opportunities and challenges. However, overall the prospects for trucking this year are strong, with plenty of business for trucking companies and freight brokers that work to maximize their capacities and move the most loads possible. One of the best ways to ensure your trucks are loaded or to find motor carriers to handle loads is to join, the world’s largest free load board. It takes just a moment to register and start searching for loads or carriers.

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