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Examining the ATA Trends Report

ATAThe American Trucking Association (ATA) releases a new trends report each year that provides a snapshot of the industry. The report also highlights the key factors businesses must consider as they plan for the coming years. The last few years have been strong ones for the trucking industry, and industry projections indicate the future looks bright.

2015 Key Findings Overview

The ATA’s 2016 American Trucking Trends publication focused on data from 2015. Despite many industry driver shortages, and managing business in a highly competitive market, the numbers reveal that for the second year in a row, 2015 was a strong year for the industry as a whole. Key findings from the for-purchase report include:

  • Revenue. In 2015, the trucking industry set a new record for trucking revenues with a valuation of $726.4 billion.
  • Freight transported. Trucks accounted for 70% of domestic freight transportation in 2015 and carried a total of 10.49 tons.
  • Class 8 trucks. This category of trucks includes tractor-trailers and some large dump trucks. In 2015, the 3.63 million of these trucks were transporting goods around the country.

The report also contains data-driven insights for the number of miles trucks traveled, the number of people working in trucking support services, and the size of existing motor carriers. Findings illustrate the importance of looking at both the positive trends in the industry as well as the challenges. The industry is thriving, despite the overarching struggles that motor carriers deal with on a daily basis.

Using the ATA Report to Guide Business Decisions

While the broad trends in the industry remain bright, motor carriers must consider how the ATA report will influence daily operations. Here are some of the trends the trucking industry is experiencing and how the report may factor into your future business plan:

  • Freight tonnage is slowly increasing year after year. While the country has millions of class 8 drivers on the roadways, motor carriers must plan for increases in over-the-road and short-haul freight demand.
  • The driver shortage directly ties into demand levels and revenue gains. To keep growing at a sustainable rate, companies must find ways to address driver shortages. Better training programs, women-in-trucking programs, and truck-management programs can help companies gain a competitive edge into the future.
  • Regulatory compliance factors into freight management and the number of trucks on the road. Every company needs as many trucks on the road as possible, which means proactively complying with fuel efficiency regulations, possible new speed limiter rules, and other changes. Any downtime associated with inspections and noncompliance could hurt an individual business’ ability to keep pace.

As you explore the trends in the trucking industry, consider evaluating trends in the freight transportation and logistics sectors, too. Each part of the supply chain affects the growth and success of the trucking industry, and all transportation sectors are facing disruptive forces today.

The trucking industry is doing well, but the state of the industry is changing at a rapid rate. To maintain sustainable success, companies must address today’s challenges in anticipation of tomorrow’s needs. From exploring smart truck technologies to changing driver benefits to lure in more professionals, every day is an opportunity to evaluate, optimize, and grow.


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