ATA’s American Trucking Trends report highlights how strong of a year 2018 was

In 2018, trucking industry revenue rose 12.2%, from $700.1 billion in 2017 to $796.7 billion in 2018, according to ATA data.

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While trucking is not yet a $1 billion business in terms of annual revenue, data issued by the American Trucking Associations (ATA) sure seems to indicate it is heading in that direction.

That data comes in the form of the ATA’s annual report, entitled “American Trucking Trends 2019,” the organization’s annual data compendium about the trucking sector. ATA officials maintain that “Trends” is indispensable for use by trucking companies, industry suppliers, logistics providers, analysts, and public policy makers, among other stakeholders.

While we all know 2018 was a “boom” year for freight transportation, especially trucking, the ATA’s data really puts that into perspective, noting that total 2018 industry revenue rose 12.2%, from $700.1 billion in 2017 to $796.7 billion in 2018. Talk about a nice increase. Given the way things are going this year, with looser capacity and less demand, it stands to reason that 2019 will not hold serve revenue-wise.

But enough about this year, ATA’s many data points in “Trends” truly drive home just how strong of a year 2018 was in retrospect, including:

  • in 2018, trucks moved 11.49 billion tons of freight, 71.4% of the nation’s tonnage freight;
  • trucking’s revenues accounted for 80.3% of the nation’s freight bill;
  • trade – especially with Mexico and Canada – is very important to trucking. Trucks moved 67.4% of surface freight between the U.S. and Canada – up 3.6% in 2018 – and 83.5% of cross-border trade with Mexico, up 10.2% from the previous year; 
  • there are 7.8 million people employed in trucking-related jobs, up 100,000 from the previous year. This includes 3.5 million professional drivers;
  • women make up 6.6% of the industry’s drivers and minorities account for 40.4% of truckers; and
  • most carriers are small companies – 91.3% of fleets operate six or fewer trucks and 97.4% operate 20 or fewer

“ATA believes good decisions are based on good data, and Trends is full of strong data, which is why it finds a home on the desks of elected officials, regulators and executives across the supply chain,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear.

As mentioned before, given how things have come back to earth freight-wise in 2019, this report’s data a year from now is likely to be less robust, but that by no stretch diminishes the impact and scale trucking has on all things freight, logistics, and supply chain.

About the Author

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. Contact Jeff Berman

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