We kick this year’s Trucking Issue off by exploring the top trends driving the motor freight market into the future; we offer our annual update on trucking regulations; we take a snapshot of where we are in the evolution of the exciting digital freight matching market; and then take our deepest dive of the year into the truckload market, the most multifaceted sector of the $830 billion motor freight market.
Contributing editor Bridget McCrea corrals a few of our leading industry analysts as they arrive at six trends that they see driving motor freight management forward on both the shipper and carrier side.
“We spend a lot of time on the role of technology as a solution to capacity, visibility and rate management,” McCrea says. “And it’s vital. However, there are moves shippers can make without software, such as face-to-face meetings with carriers or making the work environment a little more driver-friendly through improved cross-department collaboration to reduce dwell times. Every little bit helps, and often you don’t even need a screen.”
Indeed, McCrea reports that face time may go miles as shippers become more creative and move to a “portfolio” freight management approach. “We expect to see more shippers juggling their freight selection among dedicated contract, dynamic, and spot, with an emphasis on looking at every lane individually and finding the best way to cover each and every one of their moves.”
And while savvy shippers are putting every tool available to work to balance a more efficient, modern freight network, carriers continue to run the gauntlet of red tape emanating from inside the beltway—and now from state capital buildings.
Starting on page 20, our veteran trucking correspondent John Schulz offers his annual round-up of what’s happening and what could lie ahead for both carriers and shippers on the regulations front. This year he spends time on two specific threats to productivity: California’s AB 5 law and hair follicle testing.
“California’s AB 5 law essentially prohibits owner-operators domiciled in California,” says Schulz. “Truckers are working like mad on a work-around and may find one concerning how contracts with owner-operators are written to make them legal—but it’s too early to tell.”
The second concern is the possible requirement of hair follicle testing for drivers, a test that’s much more accurate in detecting drugs than urinalysis. “FMCSA is close to allowing Health and Human Services to issue a rule that might require both tests for drivers,” says Schulz. “Estimates point to the elimination of 300,000 to 400,000 drivers if it were implemented.”
And as concern about increased regulation, drivers and future capacity continues to build, we’ll certainly see more shippers turning to digital freight matching (DFM) technology to quickly and efficiently meet those needs. Starting on page 26, group news editor Jeff Berman is joined by three leading freight transportation and technology analysts to put the DFM market into context.
“As long as the economy remains a whirlwind of mixed signals, the need for shippers to quickly secure capacity is something that will be in high demand,” says Berman. “And the continued investment—at this point more than $4 billion and climbing—and adoption of DFM platforms will continue to surge