It is no secret that the internet has transformed the world in major ways. Over the past 20 years, it seems that the effects of the internet have been felt in almost every aspect of life. From the way we get our news to the way that we interact with one another, the internet is now central. However, perhaps the biggest change that has come about from the internet is the way that we shop. As consumers become increasingly comfortable with online transactions, e-commerce is growing at tremendous rates. Given the trends, there is no reason to believe that this is going to stop anytime soon. In fact, it looks like it will only increase in the coming years. But how are all of these goods reaching consumers? Well to answer that question, we have to look at e-commerce and trucking!
E-commerce and Trucking | What You Need to Know
Trends in E-commerce
In order to understand how e-commerce affects trucking, we first have to look at how it has grown and the projected trends in e-commerce. Currently, e-commerce accounts for roughly 13 percent of the retail market. However, as time progresses, so will this value. In fact, e-commerce is likely to account for more than 20 percent of retail sales within 10 years. In 2016, e-commerce retail sales accounted for more than $320 billion. Obviously, this is a massive industry that will only get larger. Giants like Amazon are committed to making the online buying process as easy as possible for consumers, which means that the inconvenience of brick and mortar retail is becoming an ever-growing obstacle. Plus, express delivery options like 2-day shipping, overnight shipping, and even same-day delivery mean that consumers are now expecting their online order more quickly than ever too.
What Does this Mean for Trucking?
As these faster delivery options become more common, the logistics behind trucking are going to get more complicated than ever. While trucks and drivers are still going to be integral to the delivery process for the foreseeable future, it will likely be in different ways. First of all, the average truckload “length of haul” is likely to decrease significantly. Same day delivery is going to require goods to be shipped from distribution centers close to the end consumer. This means that there will be an increased need for short-range drivers. Yet, this transition is going to present some complications.
While, in theory, it seems to make sense for drivers to make shorter runs between docks and consumers, it can be difficult to do that given current infrastructure. Large tractor-trailers are not easy to navigate on often narrow residential streets. However, since UPS and FedEx are raising rates on many oversized deliveries, tractor-trailer drivers are left to shoulder the load. Ultimately, the last-mile delivery is especially subject to change in the e-commerce world. While we can’t be sure exactly how it will change, we can be confident that this is one area carriers need to address.
At the end of the day, e-commerce is a massive industry that only continues to grow. Drivers, dispatchers, recruiters and everyone else involved in transportation is going to have to adapt in response. While LTL carriers have always been concerned with maximizing space and minimizing time on the road, this is now more important than ever. However these carriers choose to adapt, it is bound to have drastic impacts on the transportation industry as a whole.
As the transportation industry goes through these changes, it is a good idea to stay up to date with the kinds of trucking jobs available. Check out our available trucker jobs to see what drivers truckers are looking for. How has the growth of e-commerce effected you? We’d love to hear your stories. Let us know in the comments below!