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US Trucking Industry Outlook for 2020: First Challenges & Bumps on the Road

Updated: May 27, 2023

From hundreds of carriers shutting down and worrying geopolitical events to decreased short-term shipping rates, record-breaking driver shortages and so much more. After two brilliant years for the US trucking industry in 2016 and 2017, it is safe to say that the year 2019 wasn’t a pretty one. What about a new year, a supposedly fresh start? It is not easy to find a positive outlook, thus it looks like it is going to be a bumpy and definitely a challenging road ahead of us. Let’s stroll through a quick outlook for the start of 2020 and what US trucking news has in store for us.

National Compliance Deadline for US Trucking Industry

One of the biggest topics among US trucking news was without a doubt the National compliance deadline. A law that went into full effect recently and required every single truck on American roads to be equipped with an electronic logging device (ELD) is probably the finest example. It is a balance between good and bad, a benefit and a challenge.

The main purpose of the ELD is to create a safer work environment for drivers in the US trucking industry, but also to allow accurate managing, easier communication and more.

Sounds fantastic, but where’s the catch? There’s no secret that ELD adds additional costs of both time and money that can be detrimental for struggling businesses.

two trucks

Adaption Period for New Software & Laws

The beginning of the new year is definitely a serious adaption period for the US trucking industry. First off, the Freight Index shows us a steady decline in freight volumes and expenditures. But that is just a very tip of adaption iceberg that awaits.

Next up, the US trucking news report laws like this in California that will reclassify independent drivers and could change the whole complexity of trucking in the state.

And yes, ELD also plays a big part once again. Many say that a lot of companies could be underestimating potential costs and problems with new software. Learning how to operate smoothly alongside new software and moving freight efficiently at the same time is one of the biggest adaptions to overcome at the moment.

trucking company

Running a Trucking Company Continues to be a Major Challenge

Running a trucking company is full of rewards and risks, but it is continuing to be a major challenge due to its strong dependency on many factors: economics, politics, foreign policies and the US trucking industry as a whole.

Then there are driver shortages and striking competition for them, manufacturing declines and various government regulations just like the one in California.

In addition, the unstable environment, tensions in the geopolitical arena and recession lurking around the corner raises the stakes even more. All of this presents a plethora of bumps in the road for someone who desires to become a player in the industry.

a man analyzing numbers

The Conclusion: US Trucking Industry is Concerned but Motivated

Who knows what the future holds for the US trucking industry. New tensions are added in the Middle East which can have an effect, but the trend of eCommerce growth continues. And while driver shorter is persistent, the economy might see growth in GDP. It’s an uncertain mix, but one thing we do know for sure – it is going to be a challenging year.

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