The world of freight transportation is changing rapidly. The signs are there and they are unmistakable. Recognizing and responding effectively to these signals may help determine which shippers and carriers will survive in the years ahead. Let’s examine the components of the new paradigm of freight transportation.
The Era is Cheap Oil is Over
The steep escalation in fuel prices this year is a harbinger of things to come for shippers and carriers. This time there will likely be no major recession to bring energy prices down. The sad fact is that 95 percent of transportation modes, passenger and freight, run on petroleum products and the likelihood of finding new sources of supply or of shrinkage in global demand is highly unlikely. In fact the use of petroleum in countries such as China and India is on the rise.
The result will be tighter truck capacity, greater use of intermodal rail services, the electrification of transportation systems, the relocation of factories and distribution centres and the slow shift to cleaner, cheaper fuels. It will drive more LCV’s (long combination vehicles) or “turnpikes” and more triple trailer configurations. This may be the impetus to harmonize our laws throughout North America to remove barriers to the movement of the most energy efficient vehicle combinations across our highways. To curb use, many countries will have to begin looking at the Danish example of higher taxes on fuel inefficient vehicles and higher taxes on petroleum. Get used to it.
The Driver Shortage is Real...