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ATA releases American Trucking Trends 2013

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
May 31, 2013

Stop me if you have heard this before: trucking is very important and moves a ton of freight in the United States every single year.

Am I overstating the obvious here? Well, yes, of course, but if you need more proof take a look at this year’s edition of the American Trucking Associations “ATA American Trucking Trends,” which the ATA released this week.

As you may know, this book is comprised of more than a lot of industry-specific data to say the least. Some of the data offered up by ATA in this year’s edition include:
-trucks moved 9.4 billion tons of freight in 2012, or 68.5% of all domestic shipments. Both figures are up from the previous year;
-in 2012, trucking generated $642.1 billion in gross freight-related revenues, or 80.7% of the nation’s freight bills, also increases from 2011;
-there are 6.9 million people employed in trucking-related industries;
-the majority of trucking companies are small businesses – with 90.5% operating six or fewer trucks. Only 2.8% of fleets operate more than 20 trucks;
-Class 6-8 trucks traveled 137.2 billion miles in 2011 – up 4.7% from the previous year; and
-the trucking industry paid $36.5 billion in federal and state highway user fees and taxes in 2011 – a 10.3% increase from 2009

“As the nation continues to travel the road to recovery following the Great Recession it is becoming increasingly clear that trucking is leading the way,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello in a statement. “The data in Trends should provide a road map for policy makers and business leaders as they continue to plot the course of that recovery.”

A solid and fluid trucking network is vital for our nation’s economic engine; that goes without saying. And while the trucking industry is currently in a relatively decent spot, there is always room for improvement while facing major challenges, too. These challenges include the pending HOS regulations change, which many industry stakeholders say could wreak havoc on supply chain management and logistics management, and other things like the truck driver shortage, and the increasingly beaten up state of our nation’s infrastructure.

Challenges aside, trucking’s presence in the overall economy and the supply chain world cannot be swept aside. It can be a tough industry to be consistently profitable all while carriers of all sizes keep a watchful eye on service levels, and safety, for good reason.

Much of what happens in the trucking world is directly tied to our economic growth for better or worse. And even with the aforementioned challenges, the industry keeps trucking along and keeping its eye on the ball.

About the Author

Jeff Berman headshot
Jeff Berman
Group News Editor

Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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