Freight shipping trends from the first half of 2015.
August 6, 2015
The first half of the year is in the books and freight shippers are planning for the next installment of 2015. To effectively prepare for the upcoming months, it's important to reflect on the industry trends observed this year. There were plenty of noteworthy news stories and statistics in the first two quarters of 2015.
We've corralled this information for you and highlighted what we feel are the top freight shipping trends so far this year.
Freight shipping trends: Trucking.
The trucking sector is going through expansions and it saw record-breaking revenue numbers in the first half of the year. For the first time, trucking broke the $700 billion revenue mark, according to the American Trucking Associations.
In addition to industry growth, a new type of truck was introduced to the highway this year, the first autonomous truck was approved to drive on U.S. roads. This type of innovation could provide freight shipping a future with fewer accidents, lower fuel costs and more well-rested drivers.
Freight shipping trends: Costs.
The first half of 2015's diesel prices fluctuated, as expected. The Department of Energy (DOE) predicted the closing price of diesel for 2015 to increase 2 cents to $2.88 a gallon. The DOE then lowered its forecast for 2016 by 12 cents, according to a Transport Topics article.
Base line-haul rates were up to help balance the decline in fuel prices, reports an Overdrive article that went on to suggest, "a continuing good rate environment for independents able to secure freight." The article also reports that both van and flatbed rates saw an increase during the first half of the year.
Spot freight rates also saw gains in the first half of the year. Reasons include the hours of service rules implementation, which provides long-haul truckers more flexibility to deploy the 34-hour restart, and the expanding labor pool. The larger workforce is expected to support the increase in customer demand.
Additionally, the freight shipping industry has been able to save money across the board by adopting various fuel-efficient technologies. Adopted techniques include improvements to truck aerodynamics, low-rolling-resistance tires and more. Implementing these methods has saved the U.S. $9,000 per year per truck, with a return period of two and half years while decreasing their carbon emissions by 19%, says a Today's Trucking article.
Freight shipping trends: Shipping.
The growth doesn't stop there. Intermodal transportation has developed into an extremely popular option. U.S. rail intermodal traffic heightened to record numbers in the first half of the year. Intermodal transportation volume increased 2.2% to 6 million units, reports a Transport Topics article. Domestically, intermodal shipments increased by 4.5%.
The Intermodal Association of North America states that a large amount of the freight carried by domestic intermodal is trans-loaded from 40-foot containers coming through a port. Volumes in the first quarter surpassed the 5.1% increase from the fourth quarter of 2014.
The industry's growth this year is seen in for-hire freight data. According to a Trucking Info article, the Freight Transportation Services Index grew 0.2% in the first quarter.
As we enter the second half of 2015, shippers and carriers alike can gain insight from the first part of the year's trends as they prepare for the upcoming months. While the industry anticipates more changes, shippers can look to Freightquote by C.H. Robinson for consistently competitive freight rates.
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