A lot has happened in the trucking industry throughout 2021. After total industry employment fell from 1,516,000 in March 2020 to 1,428,400 in April of 2020 due to the pandemic, the industry has been steadily recovering, with employment reaching 1,498,500 in August of 2021. There’s been a lot of change, and some exciting trends are coming up in the next year.
These new trends are something to keep an eye on, for dispatchers especially. As the industry changes, it’s important for fleet dispatchers to stay on top of what’s new to improve their knowledge and skillset and to stay ahead of the curve.
Here are eight industry trends dispatchers should keep an eye on in 2022 and beyond:
1. Load Tracking
We live in an on-demand economy. Consumers expect services to be delivered quickly and on time. As a result, there is an increased demand for order tracking technology and software. This is why many companies in the trucking industry have adopted technologies that support order tracking. For example, the Xpress Technologies Fleet Management software when paired with the no-cost Xpress Technologies ELD provides real-time tracking and load insight, giving you the information you need to set customer expectations. Additionally, the map search feature in the Xpress Technologies App can help you find loads to match driver routes and give you a summary of the trip when you arrive.
2. Advancements in Technology
Load tracking software is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to technological advancements in the trucking industry. Dispatchers are now utilizing more technology than ever before. Searching for and booking good freight opportunities can be a very tedious process. Dispatchers and owner-operators were forced to spend hours scouring load boards and making phone calls.
Now there are apps, such as the Xpress Technologies App, which automates and optimizes the process. New technology accounts for lane and corridor preferences, route planning options that help you avoid deadheading (operating without revenue-generating loads), and many other variables to provide dispatchers with the best possible routes for their drivers. Technology is changing the game for dispatchers.
3. Price Fluctuations
Due to a decline in the freight industry in 2019, there was also a drop in prices. However, as the demand for carriers increases, it’s possible that prices could also go up. If the industry experiences growth, it can mean good things for drivers and dispatchers. On the flip side, if there is not enough growth and improvement, the market could continue to decline, forcing trucking companies to lower their prices.
As a dispatcher, you’ll need to stay mindful of changes in the market and the industry’s fluctuating rates. By being reasonable with customers now, it will help you maintain business in the future.
4. Rising Fuel Costs
Higher freight rates may also account for recent rising fuel costs. Fuel costs have hit pre-pandemic levels and are expected to remain high. The U.S. Energy Information Administration projects that the price of diesel will only drop around two to three percent in 2022. As a dispatcher, it will be helpful to keep rising fuel prices in mind as you negotiate rates and contracts.
5. Impact of E-commerce
E-commerce is exploding. By 2023, it’s estimated that US e-commerce revenue will reach $740 billion. What does this mean for dispatchers? It means there’s an emerging industry full of potential new clients. The upcoming years may present plenty of opportunities for dispatchers to find new, lucrative loads for their drivers.
6. Data Analytics
We touched on the increase in technology earlier, but data analytics is becoming so widespread it deserves its own section. Data analytics is something more and more industries and companies are using to help track and improve performance. Dispatchers can use data analytics tools to spot which areas have the best opportunities for backhauling.
7. Road Expansions
In 2020, the United States spent over $100 billion on highway and street projects, with even more infrastructural investment expected in the coming years. This is excellent news for small to medium-sized fleets. Many of these road expansion projects have enabled rural areas to gain access to goods that previously were only available in urban areas. This growth of commerce in rural areas means dispatchers have more potential business opportunities.
8. Market Flip
As the industry gets back on its feet and makes way for new developments and emerging tech, there is likely to be an economic bounce back from the decline in 2019. Now more than ever, e-commerce is booming which will impact the market and the need for more drivers to transport goods for shippers. This will be especially beneficial to smaller and medium-sized trucking companies that were struggling to stay afloat in 2019. It also means drivers will be in demand, and as companies begin to hire again and grow, there will be an increase in truck dispatching jobs available as well.
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