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The connectivity and mobile advancements made in the Internet-of-Things (IoT), and the rise of various devices and dispatch software have been vital in the growth of the trucking industry these past few years. It certainly helped trucking companies survive 2019 and grow, despite being besieged with bad weather, overcapacity, industrial slowdown, and the issues from the trade war with China. The trucking industry will be facing more challenges this year, but improvements in IoT are expected to be one of the driving forces in market growth.
Why the Trucking Industry Continued to Grow in 2019
Perception about how the trucking and transportation performed in 2019 can be confusing. Most are inundated with description of how bad it was for truckers and small companies. There are even stories of mass layoffs from both trucking companies and truck manufacturers.
It’s a different story if you look behind the bombast and consider the hard facts. While it’s true the trucking industry experienced a slow down in 2019, it’s not as horrible as some say it was. As one specialist explained, “the death of freight has been greatly exaggerated.”
Seidl of Chainalytics-Cowen Freight Indices noted back last May that freight market numbers were so impressive during the first half of 2018 that 2019 paled in comparison. The company also noted that contract and spot rates for 2019 were above that of 2017.
Data from the end of 2019 showed that dry van rates declined 6.4% in contrast to 2018. However, it was up by almost 15.5% when compared to January 2017 numbers. Van spot rates also rose by 9.7% in December 2019 from January 2017.
Wages in the trucking industry also improved in 2019 as companies tried to hold on to their existing and experienced drivers. Recruiters also worked double time to entice new drivers by offering attractive compensation and sign-on bonuses.
How the Internet-of-Things Helped Trucking
Technology has resulted in massive improvements in the transportation industry. Whether it’s a small trucking business or one of the established freight and shipping companies, IoT is being utilized to streamline operations and make them more efficient.
- Interconnected Mobility
IoT has helped advanced fleet-based activities these past few years. Company headquarters or fleet stations that employ dispatching software programs that can easily monitor trucks, cargo, and even the wellbeing of their drivers. Trucks are now equipped with numerous smart devices that enhance their functionality.
More shipping companies and carriers have taken advantage of blockchain technology and use it alongside IoT. For instance, a dispatch track order system helps companies keep tabs on the products and process delivery schedules. It also allows customers to easily know the status of their orders.
- Real Time Access to Key Data
IoT is also an immense help in allowing trucking companies to receive real time data. A driver making an unnecessary stop or one who keeps the engine switched on might seem insignificant. But these could be costly in the long run, especially in terms of fuel and delivery time.
High-quality sensors on the vehicles can tell company owners about their drivers’ behavior, the quality of their driving, adherence to routes, how fast or slow they drive etc. Meanwhile, a fleet management solution can help evaluate all the data and assist in organizing daily operations to ensure efficiency and productivity.
- Faster and Better Services
The Internet-of-Things not only provided shipping and transportation companies with accurate and vital data, they were also essential in helping improve delivery services. Advanced GPS tracking apps assisted drivers in identifying the best and safest route they can use to reach their destination more quickly. GPS was also a boon in alerting drivers of emergencies, like a natural disaster or accidents. When used in conjunction with a dispatch track software, fleet managers or facilities were able to reroute vehicles or send assistance.
- Connectivity for Maintenance
Along with getting insight on the driver’s behavior and performance, IoT has also helped keep trucks running smoothly. Integrated sensors let companies monitor the status of the trucks. These devices give out real-time information regarding battery status and coolant temperatures. They also send out alerts for services like engine maintenance and inspection reminders.
IoT ensures that fleet managers can take preventative measures to keep their trucks running well. It also helps predict mechanical problems before it happens so they can prepare accordingly.
The number of fleet management connectivity devices around the world is expected to grow to 60 million by 2023. The market for connected fleets are also anticipated to increase from the $12.56 billion in 2014 to $35.35 in 2019-2020.
What’s Next for the Transportation Industry
New challenges await the transportation and trucking industry, but upcoming trends could work in their favor.
- More Extensive Data Analytics Implementation
Expect data analytics to become more crucial in this business. Data analytics will not only be implemented in the corporate aspect of this sector, it will also be applied to the actual vehicles on the ground. Trucks will be integrated with technology that will send data regarding its route and the operations it’s engaged in. The information will help the company (and the industry) to determine which areas that requires further development. It will give them critical information on these areas so a new, efficient way of operations can be designed.
- ELD Mandate Fully in Effect
The mandate on Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) are fully in effect. It demands all trucks that were previously outfitted with the AORBD system to use an ELD instead. The shift to ELD is expected to benefit the industry in the long run. It protects the rights of truckers and makes certain that they only work the required 10 hours per day.
However, analysts are expecting some grumbling and slow down in some sectors as transitioning to the ELD and ensuring each vehicle in a company’s fleet is enabled with this technology is quite expensive. But it’s a sacrifice that every driver and trucking company is willing to make.
One Last Thing
The trucking industry is a cyclical one, and the challenges of 2019 has admittedly taken a toll on it. But conditions are expected to stabilize once more in 2020 and companies that take advantage of IoT will have a better chance of winning this year. it’s in a company’s best interest to learn more about dispatching software, supply chain tracking programs, and sensors and how they can be utilized to help provide faster and more efficient services.