Around the world, cargo is transported everyday by land, sea, and air. Although other methods are necessary and important, road transportation currently leads the global freight economy. In fact, road transportation accounts for $1.49 trillion in global revenues each year. This number is more than half the total annual global transportation revenue.
Trucks are responsible for the transport of more than 6,000 billion tonne-kilometres (TKM) of freight in the U.S., EU, China, and Japan and road transport accounts for over eighty percent of inland freight volume.
Although road transport equipment varies, dry van trailers or dry freight semi-trailers are the most commonly used cargo transport units (CTU). Dry van trailers range from standard metal boxes to specialized custom units designed for shipping specific types of cargo.
Dry van trailers remain the CTU of choice for transporting domestic, cross-border, and intercontinental trade in North America, Europe, and Asia. In fact, dry van trailers are used to transport raw materials, commodities, consumer goods, industrial parts, and equipment throughout much of the world.
Despite a positive growth outlook, the trucking industry remains extremely vulnerable to fluctuating economies. This is true for trucking more than most other industries.
Dry van trailer operations often struggle to stay afloat in an asset-intensive, fiercely competitive, and fragmented marketplace. Profitability is heavily influenced by changes in fuel prices, consumer demand, driver availability, and more. Dry van trailer operators are also be affected by several emerging trends including:
- Development of autonomous vehicles
- Increased demand for transparency and tracking
- Emergence of new players in the transportation industry
- Increased risk of cargo theft
- Changing regulations regarding social and environmental impacts as well as supply chain and safety concerns
- Frequency of disruptive events
- Rising consumer expectations for visibility and responsiveness
- New business models and start-ups leveraging technology
- Technological advances
- Internet of Things (IoT) technology
New technologies are challenging the way that road freight operators handle their day-to-day operations. Companies that do not keep up with these changes will soon fall behind the competition.
Dry van trailer operators must learn to implement changes while effectively leveraging their physical assets for profit. Connection to the IoT enables companies in the trucking industry to increase efficiency and profits, keep up with rising demands and expectations, while minimizing loss.