The importance of small fleets in the industry
Among giant super-carriers and other big fleets, small carriers have still managed to trug along in the trucking industry quite successfully.
It has not been an easy road for many, as getting a company off the ground, along with finding drivers and financing trucks, could be a difficult task for many who lack consistent capital.
Nevertheless, small fleets continue to persist and have become an important cog in the success of the trucking industry as a whole.
According to statistics from 2018 provided by the American Trucking Associations, small fleets with 20 or fewer trucks made up 97.4 percent of the trucking industry.
With such a large share of the industry, small fleets bring in an abundance of revenue and have created thousands of jobs in the process.
Throughout the boom of the market in 2017 and 2018, business for small carriers boomed. This caused many to begin expanding their operations and growing their companies.
Jobs in fleets with fewer than 100 trucks grew exponentially from 2012-2018, reaching 322,000. This also coincided with a 4 percent growth among smaller companies, according to Trucks.com.
However, after 2019’s market contraction, many of those carriers closed. Hundreds of small carriers have ceased their business operations and not much is projected to improve early in 2020.
“The economy for the small companies is not good,” John Kearney, the CEO of Advanced Training Systems, said. “Large companies are going to hurt, but they’ll be able to pull through.”
The fact is, effectively running and growing a small carrier can be extremely difficult. Not only do they struggle with the same issues as larger carriers, but they also have problems that are unique to them.
Whether it’s fuel prices, driver retention, government regulations, or even finding new loads or clients, small carriers have been dealt a difficult hand.
Nevertheless, 2019 still had its successes among small carriers. Even with a market contraction in the midst, Trucking Info reported in May of 2019 that 52% of small carriers they spoke to said their company was growing.
In addition to that, one in three also expected to continue growing its revenue 11-25 percent within two years.
While small carriers may be projected to have a rough time throughout 2020, there is some hope for growth once the market balances out. Will it reach the levels of 2018? Perhaps not, but by the end of the year, it may be a net positive for many small carriers in the industry.
So, do you believe small carriers will trend upwards in the years to come? Let us know in the comments or on social media!
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