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Top Trends Facing the Trucking Industry in 2023

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What a year 2022 has been for the trucking industry. Inflation, supply chain challenges, and rising interest rates lead to another challenging year.  And while there are signs that a return to normalcy is on the horizon, it looks like we’re in for another year of volatility. Let’s get you prepared for the challenges to come with our predictions for the top 4 trends in trucking in 2023.

Trend #1: Higher fuel and insurance costs will persist

Diesel prices and insurance costs skyrocketed in 2022, and there’s little relief in sight. According to the latest Short-Term Energy Outlook from the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration, average retail diesel prices will remain at more than $5 per gallon through 2022 and into early 2023.

And the rising costs of insurance are having an impact as well. The American Transportation Research Institute notes that volatile and increasing insurance premiums are of major concern. Insurance premium costs per mile increased by 47% in the last 10 years.

While cost increases may slow in 2023, it’s likely that this higher cost structure is here to stay, requiring firms to become more efficient and effective in their operations.

Prioritize technology investments that drive efficiency and safety

Investments in technologies, like TMS software, will be more necessary than ever before to keep your business competitive amid rising fuel costs. These investments can help you to reduce fuel surcharges, plan fuel-efficient routes, and monitor driver behavior that could negatively impact fuel usage.

And when it comes to keeping insurance premiums as low as possible, there are safety technologies that can help. Tools such as road-facing cameras, speed governors and forward collision warnings can all help mitigate rising insurance premiums. ATRI reported that 92% of its respondents adopted new safety technology in the last three years. It added that 56% of the trucking fleets that responded to their survey implemented three or more new safety technologies.

Trend #2: Backlogs are finally easing

The great container ship backlog is finally winding down. In January, a record 109 ships were queued outside harbours in California waiting to be unloaded. This unprecedented congestion prompted intervention from the Biden administration to help reduce the strain. Fortunately, port congestion is finally easing. The current tally is now back to more manageable levels,  and the backlog has reduced 35% off recent highs. This means less idling time for drivers–a welcome relief.

But supply chains still face disruptions

Despite improvements in wait times, supply chain challenges will persist throughout 2023. In particular, COVID-19 lockdowns in China will continue to impact the flow of imports while the shortage of critical semiconductors for automobiles remains an issue. Most importantly, while US consumers are still shopping in times of high inflation, there are still mismatches between what shoppers want and what is available to purchase.

Read our TMS Buyer's Guide

Discover the best way to evaluate and choose the right TMS software solution for your business.

Trend #3: Equipment challenges remain in 2023

OEMs continue to face part shortages going into 2023, especially in the microchip industries. While conditions are set to improve, these production challenges will persist, placing pressure on the trucking industry.

In particular, carriers looking to replace aging fleets will be hampered by supply constraints. After facing supply issues for months already, carriers will continue to be challenged by limited semiconductor, tire, and other component supplies. Nick Hobbs, COO of J.B. Hunt noted earlier this year that the equipment market remains “extremely challenging,” and that J.B. Hunt is “having to manage intensely around the impact on our operations.

Trend #4: The ELD mandate set to take effect in Canada

After a series of extensions, the ELD mandate is set to take effect on January 1st, 2023. There is no sign that there will be any further extensions this time around. Electronic logging devices or ELDs are a type of equipment that will automatically record and log driving time for commercial vehicles such as semi-trucks. All ELDs in use to meet the mandate must be certified by one of the testing bodies. Here’s the full list of devices that have been approved. Unlike previous onboard recorders (AOBRDs & EOBRs), your ELDs must connect directly to the vehicle's engine and monitor usage to ensure logs are accurate.

If you’re looking to learn more about the mandate and how to prepare, check out our full breakdown here.

TransPlus’ Fleet Manager can help

Getting your fleet ready for ELD compliance is crucial if you want to avoid disruptions to your operations and fines. Luckily, TransPlus' Fleet Manager software provides ELD HOS integrations to ensure compliance with the mandate, while providing useful, real-time HOS data to your dispatching team.

While 2023 promises to be another volatile year, being prepared for what’s coming can give you a competitive advantage.  Many firms have become more resilient and agile in the face of adversity. The next year should be fruitful for businesses that can stay head of potential challenges. Investing in the right technologies to make your firm more effective and efficient will give you an edge over your competitors in 2023 and beyond.

Read our TMS Buyer's Guide

Navigate the TMS software landscape with our comprehensive buyer's guide - find the perfect platform for your trucking business today.

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