Row of colorful trucks.
Trucking Services
Sectoral analysis of U.S. trade and competitiveness in trucking services. 

Trucking Services

Trucking Services


Trucking is identified as the “first and last mile” of the supply chain. The principal focus of the U.S. trucking industry is U.S. domestic and North American commerce. Trucking demand is driven by consumer spending and manufacturing production. Since 1995, the value of goods traveling via truck across both the northern and southern borders jumped 172 percent and totaled over $720 billion in 2017. 68 percent of the surface transported trade between the U.S. and Canada moved via truck.  For U.S.-Mexico trade, the figure is 82 percent. The American Trucking Associations (ATA), the leading voice for the U.S. trucking industry, is a member of ITA’s Advisory Committee on Supply Chain Competitiveness. OSCPBS is involved in a number of outstanding competitiveness challenges facing the U.S. trucking industry. 

Main Issues

Drop and Hook
Domestically, trucking companies in both the U.S. and Canada utilize an efficiency-enhancing technique called “drop and hook”. After dropping a loaded trailer at a customer’s facility, the driver will pick up an empty trailer at that same facility and reposition it to another customer’s facility. The driver then picks up a loaded trailer at the same facility and takes it to its destination. 

Truck Driver Shortage
There is a serious truck driver shortage in the U.S. About 51,000 more drivers are needed to meet the demand, according to the ATA American Trucking Associations. The Coalition of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) has identified the driver shortage as the principal contributor to rising U.S. logistics costs. The ATA predicts this will get worse in the coming years. The ACSCC has identified this issue as a critical for the supply chain industry.

International Maritime Organization (IMO) Fuel Ruling
The IMO has adopted mandatory measures to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases from international shipping. The IMO standard may disrupt fuel supplies crucial to transportation industries like trucking, airlines, and railroads, in addition to ships. The International Energy Agency notes that these rules could boost diesel prices by 20 percent to 30 percent, which will drastically increase costs for our nation’s truck drivers.


ITA Resources

Richard Boll
Freight Rail and Trucking; Franchising, Direct Selling; DFO for the Advisory Committee on Supply Chain Competitiveness (ACSCC)