ATA’s latest report highlights trucks’ dominance of freight market


ARLINGTON, Va.  — Trucking is a big business and the American Trucking Associations’ release of the latest edition its annual compendium of trucking industry data — “ATA American Trucking Trends 2018” — highlights the industry’s dominance over the freight market.

“Information, when presented properly and accurately, tells a story,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. “The information in these pages highlights exactly what I tell elected officials, regulators and key decision-makers every day: Trucking is literally the driving force behind our great economy. Safe, reliable and efficient motor carriers enable businesses throughout the supply chain to maintain lean inventories, thereby saving the economy billions of dollars each year.”

Among the findings in this year’s edition of Trends:

  • Trucks moved 10.77 billion tons of freight, 70.2 percent of all domestic freight tonnage.
  • The industry generated $700.1 billion in annual revenue in 2017, 79.3 percent of the nation’s freight bill.
  • The industry moved 69.1 percent of all trade between the U.S. and Mexico, and 57.7 percent of Canada-U.S. trade.
  • Roughly 7.7 million people were employed in jobs related to trucking activity, including 3.5 million drivers.
  • Of those 3.5 million drivers, there were 1.7 million heavy and tractor-trailer drivers. Minorities account for 40.6 percent of all drivers and 6.2 percent of truck drivers are women. The number of truck drivers actually decreased from 3.542 million in 2015 to 3.506 million in 2016.
  • Before 2017, the number of truck drivers had increased every year since 2011.
  • Of the over 1.5 million for-hire, private and other types of trucking companies, 97.3 percent have 20 trucks or less, 91 percent have six trucks or less.
  • There were 2.66 truck-tractor registrations in 2015; that number dropped to 2.58 million in 2016.
  • California, Florida and Texas combined are home to nearly one-fourth of all commercial trucks on the road.

“Trucking is a critical part of the economy and the supply chain,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “Trends allows policymakers and business leaders to see just how big that impact is while debating key issues like trade, infrastructure investment, workforce development and tax policy.”


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