Millions of truckers employed across America have dedicated their careers to the trucking industry, hauling freight from coast to coast. As technology and regulations change around them with scares of driver shortages and self-driving trucks, commercial truck drivers may fear that the industry will upend them and terminate their livelihoods. We at TopMark Funding are optimistic about the future of the trucking industry. Aside from the slow march of technology proving that human drivers have little to fear in regards to being replaced for the next decade or two, the trucking industry as a whole is growing. Here are the statistics from the American Trucking Association (ATA) that show trucking industry revenue over time.
Annual Trucking Industry Data Points
Every year around July or August, the ATA releases a news report showing statistics regarding the trucking industry. These include the number of class 8 trucks in operation, demographics of truck drivers, and fuel consumption. Each year the PDF costs range from $125 to $425. Fortunately for all of us, the ATA is willing to give us a few statistics as a teaser each year to motivate people to purchase the full report: the totals of goods hauled, both in revenues and weight. They also include this information when they update their Tonnage Index. We at TopMark Funding have compiled these teaser statistics to provide a general view of the changes in the trucking industry.
Before you look at the graphs, here are some details to consider:
- As of the time of this writing, 2019 data has not yet been published, and as such has been omitted.
- The ATA forgot to track numbers for 2007. For 2007 numbers, we took the average of 2006 and 2008. Because the 2008 numbers show that the Great Recession did not impact trucking until 2009, this seems to be the best way to get as close to the true 2007 numbers as possible.
- The ATA does not list its data from before 2005. Other sources that cite the ATA have been used instead of data from the ATA directly.
Sources include various ATA articles measuring their Tonnage Index each month, Transportation Research Circular, and Progressive Railroading.
Trucking Industry Revenue Over Time: Data Analysis
Clearly, the Great Recession of the late 2000s did a number on the trucking industry; all five graphs shown above were impacted in some form from it.
Despite revenues increasing over time, the total amount of the United States’ spending of freight transportation on trucks has decreased, and weight has gone up. This shows that the price of shipping has gone down over time, perhaps most notably from the decreasing cost of diesel, which peaked in mid-2008.
In the last year, the commercial vehicle industry has been on fire. Revenues have gone up over 13.5%, the largest amount in recent memory, if not in the history of trucking. Even with the worst looking measure, trucking as a percentage of the total freight market, the trucking industry is back to 2014 levels.
Article courtesy of TopMark Funding.