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Shippers face great uncertainty regarding the full truckload industry for 2019. Capacity is still wasted, reports Satish Patel via, yet new apps and technologies are changing the way shippers tender and schedule freight. Shippers need to know the full truckload trends to watch in 2019 and their potential impact on the industry.

Raw Material Shortages and Price Hikes Will Contribute to Renewed Interest in Fleet Preventive Maintenance

The threat of new tariffs levied by the Trump Administration will have a dramatic effect on full truckload shipping. Unfortunately, tariffs and uncertainty regarding trade deals will lead to higher costs for raw materials, and in some cases, shippers may be incapable of obtaining these raw materials. Meanwhile, the other largest source for raw materials and finished products, especially trucks, Mexico, is under a constant barrage of threats relating to trade. Without entering a political discussion, shippers will take a proactive stance against the risk of uncertainty through the increased use of preventative maintenance on existing fleets. At the same time, the purchasing of new trucks in fleet vehicles is expected to contract in response to uncertainty regarding trade. In other words, available full truckload capacity will stay the same, if not decrease, in the coming months.

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Contracted Full Truckload Trends to Watch in 2019 Include Increasing Rates

Contracted full truckload rates will also increase throughout 2019. This is the result of tight capacity and the driver shortage. However, rate increases are also the result of problems coming to fruition, revolving around the hours of service regulation. This risk is that a driver shortage alond with HOS regulations, impacting a capacity shortage, are hurting shippers ability to get products to consumers on time. Meanwhile, many drivers and shippers have voiced concerns that the HOS regulations are too strict and result in an unfair loss of wages.

Tesla’s Development of Electric Powered Trucks Will Start to Affect the Industry

According to CCJ Digital, the development of electric semi’s will begin to affect the full truckload market, which will have the result of lowering rates in the long-term outlook. Unfortunately, 2019 will not be the year when electric trucks become commonplace. In other words, the majority of shippers will continue to use traditional trucks to move shipments. A similar trend exists for the use of autonomous trucks. Although major companies are working to develop autonomous, driverless trucks, the widespread application of such technology remains in infancy. Therefore, shippers should think about ways to make full use of existing fleets and tap into available capacity, wherever possible.

App-Based Logistics Will Disrupt the Industry

As explained by Amy Feldman via Forbes, the Uberization of trucking and app-based logistics services will continue to disrupt the full truckload industry throughout 2019. App-based logistics management offers a stress-free, easy way for shippers to tap into larger carrier networks, including local and regional carriers. Since more truckers will work with private fleets than the nation’s major carriers, this effectively gives shippers an opportunity to tap into 90 percent of the overall full truckload market share.

The Value of a TMS Is Essential to Reducing Freight Spend

A final consideration regarding the full truckloads trends to watch in 2019 goes back to the value of a transportation management system (TMS). A TMS is a one-stop solution for shippers needing to carefully catalog, tender, schedule, track, and manage all logistics needs. Using a dedicated TMS reduces many of the inconsistencies associated with using a partial TMS and existing legacy systems. Furthermore, a modern TMS utilizes cloud-based technology to minimize implementation costs and ensure maximum optimization of its capabilities. In other words, the software vendor is responsible for maintenance of the system, so shippers only need to worry about actual logistics needs.

Putting It All Together

The full truckload trends to watch in 2019 allude to a story of higher costs and hope for the future. While new technology and services will reduce the stress associated with full truckload freight management, shippers should remain vigilant. Innovative technologies, including autonomous and electric trucks, are not likely to come to the masses in 2019. However, recognizing the likelihood and impact of these technologies is essential to creating both short-term and long-term logistics management strategies.