Annual Trucking Industry Revenue Soars to Nearly $800 Billion

July 31, 2019 by Jerry Hirsch, @Jerryhirsch

The trucking industry grew almost 10 percent last year, according to a new report from the American Trucking Associations.

The industry’s largest trade group said Monday that trucking soared to $796.7 billion in 2018 from $700.1 billion the previous year.

“2018 was a year of dynamic growth for the trucking industry,” said Bob Costello, the ATA’s chief economist.

The trade group issues the annual report, called “ATA American Trucking Trends 2019,” to provide data to trucking executives, legislators and other policymakers.

2018 TRUCKING INDUSTRY FINDINGS

  • Trucks moved 11.49 billion tons of freight, 71.4 percent of the nation’s tonnage freight.
  • Trucking’s revenues accounted for 80.3 percent of the nation’s freight bill.
  • Trade – especially with Mexico and Canada – is essential to trucking. Trucks moved 67.4 percent of surface freight between the U.S. and Canada. That is up 3.6 percent from the prior year. They transported 83.5 percent of cross-border trade with Mexico, up 10.2 percent from 2017.
  • The industry employs 7.8 million people in trucking-related jobs. That’s up 100,000 from the previous year. The figure includes 3.5 million drivers.
  • Women make up 6.6 percent of the industry’s drivers, and minorities account for 40.4 percent of truckers.
  • Most motor carriers are small companies. About 91 percent of fleets operate six or fewer trucks. More than 97 operate 20 or fewer trucks.

“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 Chris Spear, the ATA’s chief executive.

NORTH AMERICAN TRADE CONCERNS

The ATA is particularly concerned about North American trade.

Derek Leathers, an ATA member and chief executive of motor carrier Werner Enterprise, testified before the Senate Finance Committee earlier this week, urging Congress to quickly ratify the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

The agreement is the North American Free Trade Agreement renegotiated by the Trump administration.

“Failing to pass the USMCA would have a negative impact on truck drivers along with the customers we serve across North America: manufacturers, farmers, retailers and consumers,” Leathers told the Senate Finance Committee on behalf of ATA.

“Every day, there are 33,000 truck entries across our northern and southern borders — hauling more than $2 billion of goods,” he said. “To put this in perspective: 12.2 million truck crossings moved approximately $772 billion of goods across our Canadian and Mexican borders in 2018.”

Leather said trade among the three nations is “a major cornerstone of our economy.”

Jerry Hirsch July 30, 2019
A broad coalition is making another attempt to repeal a century-old excise tax on heavy-duty trucks after failing twice in recent years to move the legislation through Congress.

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