Trucking industry in the U.S. - Statistics & Facts

The trucking industry refers to the use of road transportation, such as semi-trailers and light trucks, to move goods across overland routes. Most commonly goods are transported from manufacturing plants to retail distribution centers, but there are other common uses such as the transportation of building materials and waste in the construction industry. Trucking is responsible for most of the overland freight movement in the United States, with the market being worth 700 billion U.S. dollars in 2017. At that time, there were over 910,000 truck drivers employed in the U.S., which is less than the industry requires. Owing to this driver shortage, driver costs are the biggest challenge faced by the industry.

Broadly speaking, the U.S. trucking industry can be divided into three main sectors: full truckload (FTL), less-than-truckload (LTL), and couriers. FTL carriers are those who haul large amounts of homogenous cargo, generally enough to fill an entire semi-trailer or container. Fleets in the FTL sector can be either privately owned, for example by a large manufacturer who needs to distribute their goods, or available on a for-hire basis. For-hire carriers generally offer additional logistics and transportation services, such as intermodal transport options. The largest U.S. FTL carrier is J.B. Hunt, who in 2017 reported a total operating revenue across all operating segments of over seven billion U.S. dollars. Other prominent FTL carriers are Schneider National and Knight-Swift, who reported over four and two billion U.S. dollars in operating revenue for 2017 respectively.

Conversely, LTL carriers transport shipments that are larger than parcels, but not large enough to fill a full trailer. Many LTL carriers will transport multiple shipments simultaneously to optimize their operations. The largest LTL carrier is FedEx Freight, who in 2017 reported 6.3 billion U.S. dollars in revenue from LTL shipments. Following FedEx, the next largest carriers are XPO Logistics, Old Dominion, and YRC Freight, all of which generated somewhere between three and four billion U.S. dollars in revenue in 2017 from LTL shipments.

Finally, the courier sector is comprised of carriers of non-palletized and light goods, such parcels. Three main companies dominate this sector in the United States: the U.S. Postal Service, FedEx and UPS. Revenues in this sector appear higher than for FLT and LTL: FedEx Express reported just under 28 billion U.S. dollars in revenue from package delivery for their 2018 fiscal year, while UPS reported just over 40 billion U.S. dollars in revenue from domestic package delivery in 2017. However, not all this revenue can be directly attributed to the courier sector of the trucking industry.

Interesting statistics

In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the 33 most important statistics relating to "Trucking industry in the U.S.".

Trucking industry in the U.S.

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Important key figures

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Full truckload (FTL) carriers

Less-than-truckload (LTL) carriers


Infographics on the topic

Trucking industry in the U.S. Infographic - The Number of Female Truck Drivers is Rising

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