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What Are the Market Forecasts for Semi-Trailers and Trucking?

The market for transportation is always changing. Sometimes increased regulation results in higher costs for fleet owners and distributors, and other times changes in demand and economic trends result in more or less demand. What are the predicted trends for semi-trailers over the next ten years?

  • Requests for bulk deliveries will increase in select markets. Forecasts predict that increased demand for bulk materials in construction and retail industries, as well as food and beverage markets, will continue to increase. This means these segments of the market might be the best way for fleets to stay profitable in face of technological changes, so large businesses already in place for distribution, delivery, and equipment are likely to sustain growth. 
  • More and more safety features and energy efficiency standards are becoming required. New trailers that have more safety guards and less weight offer lower insurance premiums and variable costs, but they can have a high price tag upfront. Many fleet owners have started to repair and extend the life of trailers to avoid the need to purchase new, expensive equipment that meets increased standards for new assets. This means you'll need to analyze your fleet's business strategy in light of this polarization between new and old. Fluctuating fuel prices will make lighter trailers cost-effective in the long-run, but current market fluctuations make investing your capital a risky proposition.

Even the most conservative forecasts aren't certain about what the future of semi-trailers will be. Changes in technology (both inside the trucking sector and in other types of transportation), demand fluctuations, and an uncertain future of energy regulation make the future hard to predict. But the basics -- keeping your trailers in good condition, regularly monitoring the news for new regulations, and widening your client base for reliable loads -- show no signs of changing.