Trucking industry breaks $700B in revenue, with high demand bringing higher rates.
Trucking revenue rose about 3 percent from nearly $682 billion in 2013 and was up 9 percent from $642 billion in 2012, data from ATA American Trucking Trends reports show. Although ATA attributed much of the increase to increased freight volumes, shippers paid higher rates for trucking services across-the-board last year, feeding truck revenue.
The ATA report underscores how far trucking has come on the long highway to recovery since the recession. Last year’s $700.4 billion in revenue represented a 28.7 percent gain from 2009, when total trucking revenue dropped 17.6 percent to $544.4 billion, according to the ATA data. Trucking reached its pre-recession revenue peak of $660.3 billion in 2008.
The lion’s share of the increase went to the fat cats at the top of the transportation industry food chain. In 2014, the 50 largest U.S. truckers increased combined revenue 10 percent to almost $117 billion, which amounts to nearly 17 percent of trucking’s total revenue. Last year was the third year in which the Top 50 had more than $100 billion in combined sales, and the first year that the carriers’ combined revenue rose by more than $10 billion.
The trucking industry figures mirrored the strength of the U.S. economic recovery in 2014, when U.S. gross domestic product grew five percent in the third quarter, reported the Journal of Commerce. While the carriers have used the higher receipts to go on a buying spree for new equipment, overall capacity remains tight, giving truck companies little incentive to compromise on pricing or back off on rate increases.
With current market conditions, carriers have nothing but their innate Christian charity to restrain price increases. Welcome to the 700 Club.