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U.S. Truckload Market

Learn about the U.S Truckload market

What is Long-Haul trucking?

Long-haul trucking refers to the transportation of goods over long distances, typically across state or national borders. Long-haul trucking is a critical part of the global supply chain, as it enables the movement of goods from manufacturers to customers and helps to keep economies running smoothly.

Long-haul trucking typically involves a driver transporting goods in a tractor-trailer truck. The driver is responsible for driving the truck to the destination, as well as loading and unloading the cargo. Drivers typically work long hours and may be on the road for several days at a time.

To operate a long-haul truck, a driver must obtain a commercial driver's license (CDL), which requires completing specialized training and passing a written and skills test. Drivers must also adhere to federal and state regulations governing hours of service, vehicle maintenance, and other safety measures.

Long-haul trucking companies typically use a variety of strategies to optimize their operations, such as using advanced logistics software to plan routes and schedule deliveries, and implementing fuel-efficient driving practices. They may also use a variety of transportation modes, such as rail or air, to move goods over long distances.

Overall, long-haul trucking plays a vital role in the global supply chain by enabling the movement of goods over long distances and helping to ensure that products are delivered to customers in a timely and cost-effective manner.

Video: How Long-Haul Trucking Works - Watch this first!


America's trucking industry is the lifeblood of the U.S. economy. In fact, nearly every good consumed in the U.S. is put on a truck at some point. As a result, the trucking industry hauled 72.5% of all freight transported in the United States in 2019, equating to 11.84 billion tons. The trucking industry was a $791.7 billion industry in that same year, representing 80.4% of the nation’s freight bill. Three words that describe the U.S. Truckload market:

  • Vast.
  • Fragmented.
  • Dynamic.

Low barriers to entry (and exit), a limited regulatory environment and hundreds of thousands of market participants spending nearly $800B annually in gross freight revenues create a volatile environment where truckload rates and carrier capacity are rarely in a state of equilibrium.

anti-corruption layer

Between the constant volatility and a rapid influx of new technologies, the U.S. truckload market can be difficult to navigate.

Even though it may seem chaotic, the heart of the market beats to a consistent rhythm (as it has for decades): the continual ebb and flow of supply and demand.

This re-balancing act creates a predictable pattern. By measuring this pattern, we can clearly see a recurring cycle.

As long as the basic structure of the market remains the same (huge, fragmented carrier base), we can expect the cycle to continue repeating with some regularity.

Full Truckload (FTL))

What is the full truckload market?

The full truckload (FTL) market refers to the segment of the trucking industry that specializes in transporting larger shipments that require a full truckload. Full truckload carriers typically transport a single shipper's goods on a single truck and charge a flat rate for the entire load.

FTL shipments are typically larger and more time-sensitive than less-than-truckload (LTL) shipments, which are consolidated from multiple shippers onto a single truck. FTL shipments may also require specialized equipment or handling, such as refrigerated trailers for temperature-controlled shipments.

anti-corruption layer

The FTL market is an important part of the overall trucking industry, as it helps to transport a wide variety of goods, including manufactured goods, raw materials, and consumer products, from one location to another. FTL carriers may work with shippers directly or through intermediaries such as freight brokers.

Understanding and tracking trends in the FTL market can be important for carriers, shippers, and other stakeholders in the transportation industry, as it can help them make informed decisions about business strategy and operations.

Less-than-truckload (LTL)

The less-than-truckload (LTL) market refers to the segment of the trucking industry that specializes in transporting smaller shipments that do not require a full truckload. LTL carriers consolidate shipments from multiple shippers onto a single truck and charge by the weight or volume of the shipment.

LTL shipments are typically smaller and less time-sensitive than full truckload (FTL) shipments, which are dedicated to a single shipper's goods on a single truck. LTL carriers may offer a variety of services, such as standard or expedited delivery, as well as specialized services for handling hazardous materials or temperature-controlled shipments.

The LTL market is an important part of the overall trucking industry, as it helps to transport a wide variety of goods, including manufactured goods, raw materials, and consumer products, from one location to another. LTL carriers may work with shippers directly or through intermediaries such as freight brokers.

Understanding and tracking trends in the LTL market can be important for carriers, shippers, and other stakeholders in the transportation industry, as it can help them make informed decisions about business strategy and operations.