The trucking industry has faced more than its fair share of challenges over the past few years, many of which will continue into 2023.
Some of the top trucking issues include maintaining equipment, sourcing equipment due to production delays and supply chain disruptions, financial struggles due to rising operating costs and declining shipping rates, difficulty hiring and retaining drivers, and navigating new or changing regulations.
These challenges can make it difficult for trucking companies to operate effectively and stay profitable.
Having worked with hundreds of companies ourselves and having been in the industry for 50+ years, we identified the top trucking industry issues we saw toward the end of last year and whether we predict them to continue into 2023.
Top Trucking Issues for Private Fleets in 2023
1. Operational Costs
Trucking companies may face financial challenges due to rising operating costs, such as fuel prices and insurance premiums, as well as declining shipping rates and increased competition.
Higher operating costs can eat into profit margins, while declining rates may make it difficult for companies to earn enough revenue to cover their expenses. Competition from other trucking firms can also make it difficult for companies to win business and stay profitable.
2. Driver Shortage
According to American Trucking Associations, there is currently a shortage of more than 80,000 truck drivers.
This could be because of the challenging lifestyle, a retiring workforce, and regulatory pressures that influence drivers to leave the industry, according to the American Transportation Research Institute.
3. Truck Parking
While it might seem like a small problem to the general public, lack of parking has been a consistent issue in the industry since 2015. If drivers cannot find parking, they run the risk of violating federal hours of service rules or parking illegally.
The U.S. Department of Transportation recently awarded $40 million in grants to Florida and Tennessee to pay for additional truck parking.
4. The State of the Economy & Supply Chain Crisis
Since the pandemic, many industries have faced supply chain disruptions and the possibility of a recession around the corner.
Some specific issues the trucking industry has dealt with and will continue to deal with in 2023 include record-high diesel prices, equipment, and parts shortages, and wage pressures due to inflation. Concerns of a global recession will extend into 2023, and affect the trucking industry.
5. Scheduling Delays
Detention fees have been a concern of drivers for numerous years. Detention reduces drivers' pay due to lost hours spent waiting at customer facilities. This can make it hard to attract and retain drivers.
Detention times were reportedly worse in recent years, most likely reduced staffing at shipper and receiver facilities.
6. Driver Retention
The trucking industry has faced a shortage of drivers for many years but another increasingly prevalent issue is driver retention.
A lack of attractive pay and benefits, long shifts, and farther drives are causing current drivers to look for new jobs. Trucking companies may struggle to hire and retain drivers due to these factors.
7. Equipment Maintenance
Trucking companies will always have to deal with maintenance challenges such as repairing or replacing parts. But a lack of technicians or difficulty in obtaining necessary parts has made this more difficult.
Trucking companies that can no longer maintain a piece of equipment may face challenges in sourcing new equipment, such as trucks and trailers, due to production delays and supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic and current economic challenges.
8. Safety/Risk Avoidance for Drivers
While truck drivers might make more than the national average, the salary may not compensate for many other factors the job entails.
Truck drivers have long working hours, and nights away from home; a lifestyle that can easily lend itself to increased physical and mental health issues. In addition to the physical challenges, by spending long hours driving, they are often putting themselves at risk on the road.
Passed in 2020, new Hours of Service (HOS) rules helped mitigate some problems truck drivers had in the past. New 30-minute rest breaks and the sleeper berth provision helped improve safety for drivers.
With increased competition and external economic pressure, businesses and consumers will likely be more particular when choosing who to work with or purchase from.
Without consistent, strategic branding, many trucking companies will find that the end consumer will have less loyalty. Companies that work to offer a strong brand story, will help to separate their company from the competition.
10. Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)
Trucking companies may have to navigate new or changing regulations, such as those related to emissions, hours of service, and other safety standards. These regulations can be complex and may require companies to make changes to their operations or equipment in order to comply.
Failing to comply with regulations can result in fines or other penalties, so it is important for companies to be aware of and adhere to these regulations.
How can you address some of these challenges in 2023?
While these challenges can be difficult to overcome, they also present opportunities for trucking companies to find new and innovative ways to address them. By staying flexible and adaptable, and by finding creative solutions to these challenges, trucking companies can not only survive but thrive in the face of change.
It will be important for companies to find ways to address these challenges in order to remain competitive and successful. This may involve finding ways to invest in maintenance programs, building strong relationships with equipment suppliers, reducing operating costs, implementing strategies to attract and retain drivers, and staying up-to-date with regulatory requirements.
By proactively addressing these challenges, trucking companies can better position themselves for success in the years ahead.
How Hydro-Chem Systems Can Help
Keep trucks and trailers clean and well-maintained to help reduce the need for repairs and prolong the lifespan of the equipment.
Here are a few specific ways in which washing equipment can help:
- Removing dirt and grime: Washing trucks and trailers can help remove dirt, grime, and chemicals such as sodium chloride that can accumulate on the exterior, as well as in hard-to-reach areas such as the undercarriage. If left unchecked, this build-up can eventually cause corrosion and other types of damage to the equipment. By washing the equipment regularly, trucking companies can help prevent this type of damage from occurring.
- Spotting problems early: Washing equipment can also help trucking companies spot problems early on, such as dents, scratches, or other types of damage. By identifying these problems early, companies can make repairs before the damage becomes more severe and costly to fix.
- Protecting against rust: Finally, washing equipment can help protect against rust, which can be a major problem for trucking companies. Rust can weaken the structure of the equipment, making it more prone to failure and requiring costly repairs. By washing the equipment regularly and removing dirt and grime that can trap moisture, as well as the road salt used in the winter, companies can help prevent rust from forming.
- Increasing Brand Recognition: Washing your fleet regularly not only improves the visibility of branding on your trucks and trailers, it also offers a more positive image to the viewer - your fleet is clean and shiny, not dirty and full of grime.
- Driver Retention/Hiring: All other factors being equal, the ability to easily keep a vehicle clean may help increase the likelihood of a driver staying with a company instead of changing to a new one.
Interested in learning more about reducing your maintenance problems? Give us a call and we can help find the best washing system for your equipment and situation.