Technological advancements have caused rapid changes in the transportation industry. These changes will only continue as we move into 2019 and show no signs of slowing down beyond that. What can the transportation industry expect to see this year?

Consumers become more comfortable buying online

In spite of recent data scandals online (i.e. Facebook) people are becoming more comfortable making online purchases. It’s crazy to think that just over a decade ago the mindset was, “I’m never putting my information online,” to “just take my information, I need this free trial. I’ll cancel it the day before I have to pay.” This has changed drastically, as a recent survey found at least 70 percent of respondents were actively shopping online. 

This trend will certainly impact the transportation industry through e-commerce. In addition, the current economy has shown little signs of slowing down outside of its typical ups and downs. With this in mind, it looks like e-commerce will continue to boom, along with the demand for shipping.

Demographics of who buy online

The line between online and offline commerce is blurring. Amazon is currently experimenting with physical commerce in addition to their current setup. This experimentation is looking more and more like a success, adding pressure to corporations with well-established physical retailers like Walmart. Expect these physical retailers to increase their e-commerce market share to combat Amazon’s infiltration into their physical commerce space. These large corporations that started on different ends of the spectrum—Walmart (physical retail) and Amazon (e-commerce)—are currently taking opposing routes to reach the same destination.

E-commerce start-ups benefit tremendously from the large corporations shifting toward online commerce. Corporations find it easier and more efficient to partner with start-ups that handle local and regional shipments rather than relying on a few companies to ship nationally. These large corporations are partnering with commerce start-ups to keep up, which is why e-commerce start-ups are sprouting up everywhere. Expect this trend to continue.

Trends in the supply chain

The cocktail of Amazon’s moves into physical commerce combined with same-day delivery and e-commerce as a whole makes warehousing a must. The increased warehousing will place a resurgence of Less-than-Truckload shipping, same-day delivery, and short-haul drivers. This should create more e-commerce start-ups and an urgency for innovation. What will transportation and shipping companies do to optimize short-haul and same-day deliveries?

Logistics companies feel additional pressure

Logistic companies, and that sector of the supply chain as a whole, will feel pressure to innovate in 2019. The ever-increasing demand for transportation services will bring higher spot market and contract rates, which will likely bring additional technologies to increase efficiency and ease the jobs. This demand will increase the pressure logistics companies face—there’s more money, more demand, and a heightened need for more efficient fleets that ease the supply chain processes for drivers, vendors, and companies, all needing to keep the financial burden off consumers so they keep purchasing products.

Due to regulations, increases in e-commerce, security, data tracking, and need for accuracy, logistics companies will feel additional pressure to advance their services. The increases in GPS tracking will lead to more efficient hauls, more accurate delivery times, and more accurate traffic data. As GPS tracking and satellites improve, so will the logistics. Expect jobs to open up in the logistics sectors with increased advancements in technology as well.

One of the more important aspects of the logistics trend is that truck drivers of all ages will have to adapt to the technology. Whether it be training on personal time, training through their company, or changes in processes. The effects of this increase in logistics will be felt on all ends of the industry, from the truck drivers and office staff to the logistics companies themselves and regulatory aspects.

What does this mean for drivers?

The demand for transportation services is not going anywhere, and the demand for quality drivers will only increase in 2019 (barring any disaster such as an economic recession). This is an opportune time to be a qualified driver, as these trends should lead to increased pay, sign-on bonuses and other benefits companies will supply to attract new and qualified drivers.