Controlling Surface Transportation Costs: Six Steps Toward Improved Collaboration

Trucking networks are complicated matrixes of equipment, driver availability, and capacity all layered by service requirements and costs.

The best trucking operators are the ones that can best match up their available capacity with enough freight to make their networks run in balance—or as close to 100 percent full in both the headhaul and backhaul lanes.

Cost pressures are rising for all trucking companies. A new Class 8 truck costs around $125,000, an increase of nearly 40 percent over the past five years. Fuel, insurance, terminal real estate, driver pay and healthcare costs are all increasing at alarming rates. Even the most efficient carriers are not immune from a bevy of factors affecting their internal costs.

Besides labor and equipment, trucking fleets are facing what U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas Donohue calls a “tsunami” of new, tough safety regulations that mostly concern truck driver hours of service (HOS) and availability.

The bottom line is that driver pay has been rising, and is expected to continue; and due to the recent changes in driver hours of service and new laws requiring electronic logging of driver miles driven, driver productivity is decreasing. In short, it’s going to take more drivers to handle what the American Trucking Associations (ATA) predicts will be a surge in surface transportation volumes through 2020 and beyond.

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