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An Analysis of the Operational Costs of Trucking: 2024 Update

An Analysis of the Operational Costs of Trucking: 2024 Update

Full Title: An Analysis of the Operational Costs of Trucking: 2024 Update
Author(s): Alex Leslie and Dan Murray
Publisher(s): American Transportation Research Institute
Publication Date: June 1, 2024
Full Text: Download Resource
Description (excerpt):

The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) first published An Analysis of the
Operational Costs of Trucking in 2008, when it was identified as an industry priority by ATRI’s
Research Advisory Committee (RAC). Since then, the annual report has become one of the most trusted resources in the trucking industry for benchmarking costs and operations.

The freight market continued its late-2022 decline throughout 2023. On the one hand, many of the high-level macroeconomic conditions that challenged businesses in 2022 moderated. In 2023 inflation rates cooled to 3.4 percent, GDP growth improved significantly in the second half of the year, and many cost centers in the trucking industry stabilized. In the freight market, however, contract and spot rates both fell steadily over the year, as did freight shipments, spend, and tonnage. All of these developments put a strain on industry costs and operations. This is consistent with ATRI’s 2023 Top Industry Issues report, in which the trucking industry identified the economy as its top concern.

In such an environment, reliable benchmarking is more important than ever. In this “Ops Costs” report, ATRI analyzed the for-hire trucking industry’s key cost centers, operational metrics, and financial data from 2023 and how externalities impact them. Marginal line-item costs for fuel, truck and trailer payments, repair and maintenance, insurance premiums, tires, permits, tolls, driver wages, and driver benefits are calculated on both per-mile and per-hour bases. Data are also analyzed by sector and fleet size to better understand the unique cost pressures and operational requirements of different segments of the industry.

Other Ops Costs metrics provide insight into closely related operational efficiencies such as deadhead mileage, truck and driver utilization, driver turnover, driving-to-non-driving employee ratios, miles between breakdowns, in-house maintenance, and dwell times. The final component of the report analyzes revenue through a variety of lenses including revenue permile and per-truck, share of costs by type, and operating margins.

Together, these metrics allow for-hire fleets to perform essential benchmarking and to better understand industry trends with precision. These metrics can also inform shippers, financiers, suppliers, the public sector, and other industries reliant on the trucking industry.

This report found that the marginal costs of trucking, while increasing by just 0.8 percent over the prior year, reached a new high of $2.270 per mile.

All statements and/or propositions in discussion prompts are meant exclusively to stimulate discussion and do not represent the views of, its Partners, Topic Directors or Experts, nor of any individual or organization. Comments by and opinions of Expert participants are their own.

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