Trends in Trucking Fleets in 2020

Strong Tie Insurance January 7, 2020 Commercial Truck Insurance

With the start of a new year and a new decade, it’s safe to assume that the trucking industry is going to face both opportunities and challenges. The trucking industry saw some exciting changes in 2019, and with changes in the transportation industry happening every day, commercial truck insurance is going to adapt to match new needs.

 

While there is a great deal set to occur in the next decade, here are some of the biggest trucking trends to watch in 2020.

Biggest Trucking Trends in 2020

Electric Trucks Are Coming​

While we’re used to seeing electric and hybrid vehicles on the road for years, the idea of an electric trucking fleet is a more recent idea.

More shippers plan on using electric trucks for last-mile deliveries and short-haul distribution than they have in the past. Amazon recently announced a plan to purchase 100,000 electric delivery vans. Other carriers, like UPS, FedEx, and DHL have also looked into buying electric trucks.

The number of electric trucks purchased in previous years is somewhat small, but that number is expected to grow over the next few years. Part of the electric truck movement comes from new mandates and incentives at the state and city level.

For example, the state of California is looking at passing regulations that would require more electric trucks to be put on the road. In Europe, diesel trucks are becoming unwelcome by law in urban areas. It’s only a matter of time before these trends move towards the rest of the nation. 

With more electric trucks on the road, you’ll see some other areas change as well. For starters, electric fleets will need access to charging stations. This could lead to more standard equipment that all commercial trucks can use regardless of their manufacturers.

Currently, electric vehicles don’t always have standard charging equipment. It’s similar to how Android and Apple phones cannot be charged with the same cable. As more trucks are circulated, charging stations will have to adapt. 

Commercial truck insurance companies are also paying attention to the use of electric vehicles. Electric engines come with pros and cons that could impact insurance prices. On the one hand, electric motors are less likely to break down and require a different kind of maintenance over gasoline-powered engines.

At the same time, electric motors are often far more expensive. An accident that damages the engine could result in substantial repair costs. While it’s hard to say precisely how electric trucks will impact the insurance market, it is something that we’ll find the answers to in the near future.

Advances in Technology

Technology is advancing faster now than it ever has before. From better cell phones to smarter homes, we’re seeing innovation impact every area of our lives. The trucking industry is no different. Here are some of the most critical areas we’ll see technology impact fleets this year:

Autonomous Vehicles

While the adoption of driverless vehicles is somewhat slow, a great deal of research energy is being put into this area. Imagine trucks that can drive themselves. Trucks won’t have to stop for bathroom breaks or rest time, speeding up deliveries.

There will also be concerns regarding trusting the tech and responsibility for incidents. This will undoubtedly impact the commercial trucking industry, even if we’re not yet entirely sure how. 

Tracking

More shippers want to be able to keep track of their freight’s exact location at all times. Consumers also want to keep track of their packages to know when to expect delivery. 

Advanced GPS technology makes it easier to pin exact locations. Instead of just seeing checkpoints, shippers and receivers will have access to the shipment’s location at all times. 

Artificial Intelligence

AI is making its way into all aspects of our lives. New work in AI is helping make the trucking industry more efficient. Robotics can help safely and efficiently load and unload cargo. You’ll also see AI predicting maintenance needs and planning more efficient routes. 

Blockchain

Ultimately, blockchain will help keep data more secure. Your contracts, commercial trucking insurance policies, customer information, financial statements, and more will be kept secure. This will help bring down administrative costs and help logistical tasks run more smoothly.

New Players On the Road

Even with high costs to enter the market, new trucking companies are popping up each day. Most of these companies are comprised of six or fewer vehicles. Many think that new financial regulations and non-recourse financing, among other factors, makes it easier for new companies to emerge. 

More people opening up trucking businesses means more competition. While this can help manage overall costs, it can hurt some of the more prominent players. Luckily, the amount of cargo that needs to be transported doesn’t seem to be going down. With companies like Amazon offering more delivery options, new companies are required in order to keep up with demand. 

More trucking companies impact other industries as well. For example, there is room for more mechanics that can help keep trucks on the road as well as keeping up with new technologies used in commercial vehicles. Fueling stations and truck stops are being added to accessible routes. We’re also seeing more distribution centers coming into play as people desire faster shipping times. 

Commercial trucking insurance companies are also working to accommodate the increase in trucking companies. With more companies paying into the pot, it’s easier to find cheaper trucking insurance than it ever has before. That means existing trucking companies have a greater incentive to shop around, even if they’ve been with their current insurance provider for years.

New Regulations

Safety is a big concern for everyone today, especially as we implement more modern technologies into the trucking industry. The expectation is that new regulations, guidelines, and rules will be created to ensure truckers operate in a safe manner.

This will especially apply to companies that transport fuels and chemicals. With the increased number of chemical spills on regional roads, federal regulators are expected to make changes to decrease costly incidents.

These regulations could include new requirements for the trailers used to haul specific cargo to the kinds of training drivers receive.