People under a certain age probably don’t realize that there was once a time when consumers did not order everything they wanted online. When a person wanted diapers, they went to the store. If a person lived an hour from the mall, they waited until they went to the mall to buy clothes, or a stereo, or whatever they wanted. Now, consumers have access to everything online. People can order anything online, from furniture to food, and they never have to leave home to shop.
Some call this change the Amazon effect (Amazon.com, not Amazon the river), and whether Amazon deserves the credit (or the blame) it is certainly part of the reason more things are delivered via freight today. According to the United States Department of Transportation, online shopping will be responsible for the majority of 29 billion tons of freight that will be delivered every year through 2040—in this country alone.
What does that extra freight mean for the delivery industry? It means there are more packages, and therefore more jobs created to deliver goods. It also means that there will be more competition as more companies want a piece of the business. It is estimated that between now and 2022, the economy will need to add 11% more truck driving jobs. There will be stiff competition among companies who wish to hire people willing to be truck drivers.
This should be good for drayage truck delivery drivers and those considering driving, as they will see benefits increase due to increased competition to hire qualified and reliable drivers.
Another change will be non-traditional carriers. Some companies are establishing themselves as willing to deliver from warehouse to doorstop seven days a week. These smaller carriers stick with niche markets, making shorter delivery routes and a willingness to deliver on Sunday. Other companies, which are not technically cargo delivery companies, are also making an effort to become a part of the niche market to maximize their profitability. Companies like Uber are, in some markets, taking and delivering packages.
Companies in California are considering making other changes in how they deliver packages. Even though oil and gas prices are fairly low compared to just one year ago, they are still major pollutants, and although they are cheaper, they are not cheap. Some companies are looking to try electric and hybrid technology vehicles, just like people are using for passenger vehicles.
It is estimated that these “green” vehicles can cut fuel use and carbon emissions 24 times as much as passenger cars. This can also decrease the dependence on oil, and it can grow the United States economy. A study estimated that increasing the numbers of high-efficiency trucks can generate $24 billion in economic benefits, including 124,000 new jobs by 2030.
Changes have been happening at break-neck speeds in freight and delivery. People no longer go to stores or the mall unless they want to, and the freight industry is seeing more business because of this change. There is more green technology in heavy and medium duty trucks, and the entire economy should be able to benefit from that. Both changes should see steady growth in the delivery/service industry.