10 Things to Know About the Trucking Industry

May 13, 2013

1. Intermodal is the transfer of products using multiple forms of transportation — trucks, railroads or ocean carriers. In 2012, intermodal container volumes rose by 5.9 percent over the previous year with 13.1 million moves, according to the Intermodal Association of North America’s Intermodal Market Trends & Statistics report. That number surpassed the previous benchmark year of 2007 by 9.8 percent. For the third straight year, domestic containers experienced the highest growth rate – 12.2 percent over 2011 – with volumes topping five million for the first time.

2. Seasonally adjusted (SA) for-hire truck tonnage increased 2.9 percent in January 2013 — up 6.5 percent over the same period last year — after jumping 2.4 percent in December 2012, the American Trucking Associations reports. From November 2012 through January 2013, tonnage increased 9.1 percent. Trucks carry 67 percent of all domestically moved freight in the United States, the ATA says.

3. Run-off-road, rear-end and lane change maneuvers account for 23, 28, and 9 percent of highway accidents, respectively, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The NHTSA advocates the installation of vehicle collision avoidance technologies to help prevent these types of accidents. If electronic stability control systems were installed on the U.S. fleet of commercial tractor trailer combination units, these systems could prevent an estimated 4,659 crashes each year, the NHTSA says.

4. In 2010 nearly 12.5 billion tons of freight with a value of approximately $10.5 billion moved by truck in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Those figures are expected to grow to around 18.5 billion tons valued at $21.7 billion in the year 2040.

5. Transportation insurance brokers, wholesalers and underwriters responding to a survey conducted by NIP Group said insurance premiums for the trucking segment increased in the fourth quarter of 2012. Of those participants in NIP’s Transportation Insurance Pricing Survey (TIPS), 66 percent said they believe premiums had increased by as much as 10 percent in Q4 2012.

6. Among the participants in the TIPS survey conducted by the NIP Group, 53.2 percent said insurance premiums for the intermodal trucking segment increased between 1 percent and 10 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012.

7. Class 8 truck net orders for March 2013 came in at 21,817 units, representing an 11 percent increase compared with same month in the previous year, according to Bloomington, Ind.-based FTR Associates. Class 8 trucks are those with gross weights of 33,001 pounds or more, and include all tractor trailer trucks.

8. In 2012, there were 793,470 drivers of heavy and tractor-trailer trucks employed in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. The median hourly wage was $19.05 and the mean hourly wage was $19.80 for those drivers. Annually, the median wage in 2012 was $39,620 and the mean wage was $41,190.

9. Fuel and driver wages (excluding benefits) are the largest cost centers for trucking companies; together they represented 62 percent of the average operating cost in 2011, according to the report, An Analysis of the Operational Costs of Trucking, published in late 2012 by the American Transportation Research Inc. (ATRI).

10. The average fuel cost per mile for trucking fleets in 2011 was $1.71; converted into hourly figures using an empirical average truck operating speed, the total average industry cost per hour was $68.20 in 2011, according to ATRI.

Topics USA Auto Trucking

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