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Over 4,000 industry stakeholders surveyed this year to identify these challenges

The economy, truck parking, fuel prices, driver shortage, and compensation are among the key issues in the trucking transport sector as it enters 2024. The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) surveyed over 4,000 industry stakeholders this year to identify these challenges.

Rebecca Brewster, President and COO of ATRI, discusses the impact of the economy on the industry. The economy first appeared on ATRI’s list during the Great Recession in 2008, “Echoing many of the concerns we, as an industry, experienced back then, we see a lot of that now,” Brewster noted during the ATRI presentation.

The top 5 concerns in the trucking industry in 2023

1. Economy
The connection between the industry and the economy is constant, creating a chain reaction. When the economy slows down, the demand for transportation decreases, affecting jobs, wages, and available compensation. Factors such as inflation, rising interest rates, diesel prices, reduced demand for freight transportation, and reduced rates impact both fleets and drivers.

2. Truck Parking
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 allowed increased funding for truck parking projects, but most are still in the process of approval. The shortage of truck parking areas poses a safety threat, with drivers illegally parking, creating safety hazards and congestion, or tired drivers who may cause serious accidents.

3. Fuel Prices
Operating costs in trucking increased by 53.7% per mile compared to the previous year, with fuel accounting for 28% of total operating costs. High diesel prices represent a significant challenge for the road freight transport industry, marking the third consecutive year that fuel costs are a top concern.

4. Driver Shortage
When the need for transportation decreases, transport companies reduce driver hiring and, in some cases, lay off drivers. The last time driver shortages experienced a comparable decline in the survey ranking was in 2009, at position number 6. This year, it is ranked at number 4, once again reflecting the economic situation the industry is facing.

5. Driver Compensation
Although the results of the ATRI’s “Operational Costs of Trucking 2023” study indicated a 15.5% increase in driver salaries compared to the previous year, ATRI suggested that the decrease in freight demand this year could have negatively impacted wages, potentially reversing the trend and placing compensation again as one of the major concerns for drivers.

This list accurately reflects the challenges the freight transport industry had to face throughout 2023. Other issues on the list include the following matters, which are relevant to the current year and will persist until the beginning of 2024:

6. Judicial Abuse Reform
7. Driver Distraction
8. Driver Retention
9. Customer Facility Detention/Delay
10. Zero Emission Vehicles


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