2022 became the most expensive year to operate in the trucking industry.
The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) presented the annual report where the operating costs of road transport are analyzed. The report detailed that the expenses of this industry reached a record high. The cost of this transportation thus rose to $2,251 per mile for the first time in its history, and fuel was not the only one responsible for this increase.
“After a strong 2021, the trucking industry entered a weaker economy in 2022. GDP declined as inflation spiked during the first two quarters of 2022, and trucking rates fell throughout the year. . Federal and industry sources reported cost increases in key areas. Fuel costs began to skyrocket after Russia invaded the Ukraine in February 2022,” ATRI began its analysis.
He continued: “Truck purchase prices remained high even as availability improved, as did repair and maintenance costs. Although some costs, such as auto liability insurance premiums, have leveled off, others, such as driver wages, have continued to rise.
Thus, marginal costs raised the mark by 34 percent when compared to 2021. To this was added that last year’s hourly costs reached $90.78. Another record that exceeded all expectations.
What is the future of trucks?
An unprecedented number of drivers participated in the study. Thanks to them, it was possible to disaggregate the different expenses that they must face. For example, their trucks cost them 12 percent more to repair and maintain than in the previous year. The average age of the trucks was one of the indicators that showed improvement. They went from 5.7 years in 2021 to 4.7 years in 2022, which shows that, despite the difficulties in the sector, they continue to update.
“As a result, 2022 broke the 2021 record for the most expensive year to operate in the trucking industry, whether calculated with or without fuel. However, the fleets also achieved valuable improvements in operational efficiencies, such as driver turnover and equipment utilization. Although operating margins fell across most fleet sizes and sectors, all fleet sizes and sectors posted an average operating margin of 6 percent or more in 2022.
What awaits the sector? According to ATRI, an uncertain outlook for the remainder of 2023 and 2024. With the demand for transport weakened and fewer cargo shipments in the last two quarters of 2022 and the first of 2023, the word that prevails is caution.