In today’s world, delivering freight can be done through a number of channels. Gone are the days of animal-drawn carriages; today, cargo airplanes, trains, naval ships, and most of all, trucks can deliver cargo around the world, and carry an astounding variety of goods, from foodstuffs to cars to electronics and even hazardous chemicals. Truckload shipping can often be the most effective and desirable method of freight delivery in certain phases of shipping, going where larger vehicles cannot. Transportation can be made easy with these trucks, and specialty freight, office supplies, and much more can be carried. Even heavy industrial machinery can be delivered with truckload shipping.
The Size of the Industry
Given how many goods and products are delivered to and from companies and consumers worldwide today, it is hardly surprising that truckload shipping is a heavyweight industry, particularly in the United States. Overall, including trucks and other vehicles, American spending on logistics and transportation totaled to $1.48 trillion in 2015 alone, standing as 8% of the gross domestic product, or GDP. For truckload shipping in particular, trucking can be a huge business and take up a large share of that work. In the year 2013, as one example, 15 billion tons of cargo were delivered by truck, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics believes that by the year 3040, that total could hit 18.79 billion tons. There are also plenty of transport vehicles out there, among other industrial vehicles. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has stated that 5.9 million commercial motor vehicle drivers are currently operating in the United States from coast to coast. And finally, the rise of e-commerce, or shopping done online, has recently taken off and is altering how the transportation industry works. Currently, American e-commerce revenue stands at $4.23.3 billion and is still growing. Full truckloads, less than truckload (LTL), or parcel carriers are seeing changes in their delivery routes and other logistics to keep up.
Moving The Goods
Truckload shipping is just one cog in the delivery industry, but it is a critical one. For international deliveries between warehouses, manufacturers, distributors, and customers, it is common for cargo jets and large freight ships to cross the air lanes or sea lanes to move goods from one continent to another. And with many companies outsourcing their manufacturing to other regions of the world, there are plenty of manufactured goods to move in this way. Then, when goods are on the same landmass as their destination, trains can often move huge amounts of cargo in pre set routes, following railways to move items to and from warehouses, factories, and more. Once these goods arrive at distributors, the trucks can take over.
A fleet of trucks is not ideal for moving thousands of tons of cargo to one destination (trains often handle that), but for dispersing goods far and wide, trucks are ideal. After all, they can travel on roads (unlike jets and trains) and these roads go nearly everywhere. Transport services, companies that own fleets of trucks, often lend their services to companies to move goods around, either business to business (BTB) or to customers. Often, such a trucking company will charge an invoice to its client for their services rendered.
What is being transported in these trucks? Retailers such as Target, Wal-Mart, Dillard’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and many others rely on trucks to deliver the store’s inventory, and grocery stores need trucks to deliver theirs, too. Sometimes, truckload shipping calls for specialized equipment for the job. Delivering temperature-sensitive grocery goods, for example, demands a truck that can refrigerate the storage area, such as for meats, dairy products, and fresh produce. More hazardous materials like gasoline, nuclear waste, liquid nitrogen, and industrial cleaners require trucks with clear warning labels and insulation and other containers to keep the dangerous materials safely confined. Truckload logistics may be based on the cargo’s nature, distance traveled, and more, and the same can be said of truckload shipping rates.