2022 Mid-Year Industry Insights

2022 Mid-Year Industry Insights
What’s going on with missing underride guard labels?

Many in the trucking industry are struggling to understand the lack of enforcement policy infractions. Specifically, for rear underride guards on trailers that are missing – whether they’re lost, damaged, or unreadable.

“While ATA supports adding rear underride guards to the list of annually inspected items, there is a fundamental disconnect in which a rear underride guard can pass annual inspection but fail a roadside inspection due to the labeling requirement,” Kevin Grove, director of ATA safety and technology policy, wrote in the letter, sent to FMCSA Associate Administrator Larry Minor. “ATA does not believe that the presence of a manufacturers label will — in any case — have an impact on safety.”


FTR’s shippers conditions index is still on a downward trend.

The past two years have been a roller coaster of ups and downs, especially for the trucking industry. The Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) saw a sharp drop. This is an index issued by freight transportation consultancy FTR that is an indicator of market influences on the transportation sector. Rising fuel costs and higher freight rates are both contributing factors in the current market. Another key influence on the volatility is the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Even though the SCI shows a negative outlook, the industry is seeing a shift. Shippers are finally seeing some relief from surging prices, and many have been pleasantly surprised by the ease in freight rates recently, especially in spot rates. According to the National Truckload Index – Linehaul (NTIL.USA), truckload van spot rates peaked in mid-January and have fallen 30% since.


What’s top on carriers’ list of priorities? Empty miles…

Convoy, a digital freight network company, recently conducted a sustainability survey, Sustainability in Trucking Snapshot. The survey focused on top priorities for small and midsize trucking companies.

Survey results were enlightening, if not surprising in the current state of the industry post-pandemic. Respondents indicated that reducing empty miles is their top priority…

  • 2% said that reducing empty miles is very important
  • 6% believe it is important
  • 8% think it’s moderately important
  • 9% say it’s less important
  • 5% say it’s not important

“Considering that 35% of all miles driven by truck drivers are driven empty, there is an ongoing underutilization of the truck in the U.S. freight industry,” Jennifer Wong, head of sustainability at Convoy, told Transport Topics. “If we as an industry can work to reduce the amount of empty miles being driven, we can put more money in truck drivers’ pockets, improve their livelihoods and make the job more lucrative.”


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