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Fully Connected Shipping

Truck Freight Increasing 3.8 Billion Tons by 2045

The freight transportation industry is responsible for 4.3% of the U.S. GDP, employing millions of people across the country with expectations to grow steadily. The latest Freight Facts and Figures (2019) report from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) indicates that we could see a 1.2% increase in U.S. tonnage per year between 2018 and 2045, with truck freight increasing by more than 3.8 billion tons. Despite continued indications that the U.S. is facing a driver shortagetrucking continues to be the largest employment sector within transportation and has experienced continued growth for the last 20 years.


Trucking is the Largest Freight Contributor to GDP

The latest Freight Facts and Figures report indicated that trucking contributed the most to GDP compared to all other freight modesamounting to $354.6 billion. That's 11% more than air, rail, and water transportation combined, resulting in a $117.7 billion difference. This gulf is unsurprising considering the geographic advantages associated with over the road transit across North AmericaHowever, these figures are a reminder of the value trucking contributes to the U.S. economy.

Transportation_Contribution_GDP_2018Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 2020

Truck Traffic to Grow Dramatically from 2018 to 2045

The BTS report estimates that by 2045, the tonnage transported in the U.S. will increase by 1.2% per year, equaling 25.4 billion tons in 25 years.

Weight of Shipments by Transportation ModeSource and Full Chart: U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 2020  

As indicated in the chart above, truck freight is expected to increase by nearly 4.5 billion tons and is growing at a rate of 1.4%, which is slightly higher than the industry as a whole.

Growth in Productivity and Employment Trending Up 

The transportation industry has made impressive gains in productivity as measured by output per hour worked over the last 20 years. During 1999-2019, freight trucking productivity grew 24.6%, with line-haul railroading growing 40.9%, and air transportation increasing 73.2%. While positive, the driver shortage continues to loom over the trucking sector. Despite the shortage, truck driving is the largest freight occupation in the U.S., with approximately 3.13 million drivers, an increase of nearly 5% since the year 2000.

Employment in Freight TransportationSource and Full Chart: U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 2020

Shipper Strategies 

The increased demand expected in the upcoming years, combined with the importance of trucking to GDP, means shippers will continue leaning on over the road transportation to move their products. Simultaneously, price increases, dynamic pricing, density-based pricing, and other complications will continue to make it more difficult for shippers to accurately predict and manage freight costs. Good relationships with carriers and integrated systems will certainly help, but we believe the most successful shippers will work to adapt frequently as the business of transportation continues to change rapidly. 

Get More Freight Facts and Figures 

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics in the U.S. Department of Transportation has very detailed resources with many of the statistics and charts reviewed and analyzed in this posting and much, much more. For more information, visit their site at https://www.bts.gov/product/freight-facts-and-figures. 


Learn More About Pacejet 

The Pacejet cloud-based shipping software and carrier network help business shippers reduce costs and improve service. Contact us today at 877-722-3538 or via pacejet.com or info@pacejet.com to learn more.