At the start of the second quarter this year, Fortune published an article on how automated vehicles could comprise up to 90% of the trucking industry’s long-haul trips. Automated vehicles have been making headlines in the trucking industry for nearly a decade, but the one issue that comes to the forefront in every case is how they will impact jobs. Despite the move toward automation in every industry, using automated vehicles could actually strengthen the case for starting more small trucking companies.
The Robots Will Replace Us! (They Won’t.)
We have learned a lot since the 1980s about how to implement automation in a way that will not force large numbers of people to go unemployed. Yes, self-driving trucks will mean a lot of drivers will not have to worry about hours of service in a conventional manner, but many of those drivers will be the copilots, so to speak, in automated vehicles in case something happens, or to make sure they are charging at their stations. Current jobs in the trucking industry will change in terms of responsibilities, and come may even see an expansion of duties, but by and large, jobs will not disappear.
Lowering Labor Costs for Large Carriers
One of the biggest obstacles for the trucking industry is driver retention. Between the cost of recruiting, training, sign-on bonuses, insurance, and more, trucking companies already invest a lot into drivers before they even take their first shipments. While there has been a growing driver shortage for years, driver retention is what is costing carriers even more. Automated vehicles may have a steep initial cost, but the issues and expenses associated with driver retention will stop, saving fleet owners a lot of money.
E-Commerce Is Here to Stay
E-commerce spiked during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the truth is that it overtook regular shopping a year or two before that. Now, e-commerce is leveling off but it has become a mainstay. People prefer the convenience and expedience of shopping online. The major retailers, such as Amazon, Wal-Mart, Target, and others, are looking for ways to automate their fleets.
Lowering Fuel Expenses
The cost of diesel has been placing a severe strain on budgets for fleets and owner-operators alike. Self-driving trucks are electric with a range of 500 miles before needing to be recharged. Additionally, newer automated vehicles feature solar panels, allowing them to charge as they drive during the day.
The Case for Small Trucking Companies
For all the advantages that automated vehicles offer to large carriers, they offer little to nothing to small trucking companies. First and foremost, automated vehicles cannot navigate well outside of major highways. At the city or town level, automated vehicles cannot calculate for new construction, roadwork, school crossings, and side streets. This gives small trucking companies, along with their human drivers, a big advantage. Large fleets can use their self-driving trucks to haul goods to major locations and smaller trucking fleets can provide the last mile service that automated vehicles are not equipped to handle.
Second, small trucking companies give their operations a human face, so to speak. Small trucking fleets know the businesses in their area and know how they operate. Local businesses work to form networks, negotiate rates, and give referrals to the small trucking companies they use. Large trucking companies cannot provide the personal service that small trucking companies can.
Third, every employee in a small trucking company is essential. Most small trucking companies are formed by owner-operators that want to launch their own businesses. That means every employee matters, and the only people who sign on are typically those who are passionate about the industry and good at what they do.
Starting Your Own Trucking Company
Single Point Capital helps people launch their own trucking companies. Our startup program helps to ensure everything from forms and permits to insurance and more is taken care of so you can start generating revenue quickly. Additionally, all administrative fees are waived if you already use our factoring services. If you are thinking ahead to getting a strong foothold in your local economy by launching your own trucking company, contact the experts at Single Point Capital today.