The Urethane Blog

Trucking Issues


This Thomas Index Report is sponsored by TOP Worldwide, a leading full-service 3PL provider for distribution, manufacturing, and fulfillment centers.

Hello. In this week’s Thomas Index Report, we’re going to take a look at sourcing activity for Trucking Services by users of the platform. Our data shows that over the past 12 weeks, sourcing activity for this category is up 9% over its historical average.

Our firmographic buyer data shows that three of the top industries driving this trend are Food & Beverage, Transportation & Logistics, and Wholesale Trade.

For nearly a quarter of a century, our country has been dealing with a growing shortage of long-haul truck drivers — a situation that is reaching critical mass as unemployment numbers are at their lowest point in nearly 50 years, and the baby boom generation retires in record numbers.

This comes as trucking demands are increasing due in large part to the huge growth in online sales. According to DAT Solutions, the problem is so severe that in 2018, just one truck was available for every 12 loads that needed to be moved. Companies are sweetening the pot in a bid to attract new drivers; in fact, according to MarketWatch, Walmart is hiring drivers that can make upwards of $90,000 per year.

In a high-tech approach to solving the problem, companies such as Daimler, GM, Volvo, and Tesla are working on autonomous — or self-driving — semi trucks. While widespread use of this technology is still a ways off, driverless trucks are on the road today.

In fact, back in 2016, an Uber self-driving truck made its first commercial delivery, bringing 2,000 cases of Budweiser beer 120 miles from Fort Collins, Colorado, to Colorado Springs. Self-driving trucks developed by Google sister company Waymo have been delivering freight for Google’s data centers since early 2018, and Amazon is hauling cargo in autonomous trucks developed by the company Embark. With technology companies and truck manufacturers racing to perfect this technology, and with the federal government taking a light touch on regulating autonomous vehicles, this is a very interesting category to keep an eye on.

In addition to Trucking Services, our data shows that sourcing activity is also up as much as 17% in the freight-related categories of Containers, Wood Crates, and Pallets.