FTL freight transportation is a backbone of the global economy. In the United States, for example, more than 70 percent of the goods consumed in the country are delivered by truck. Whether it involves retail products, commodities, or food; retailers, restaurants, and businesses of every kind imaginable rely on the truck, and the truck driver.
FTL freight transportation refers explicitly to “full truckload” transportation, rather than LTL freight transportation, or less than truckload transportation. FTL freight transportation also can refer to a shipment merely remaining in the same truck. Ideally, FTL freight transportation is used for high-risk or time-sensitive shipments.
FTL freight transportation, while an American tradition, is in a bit of a bind. First, the average age of a truck driver is 55 years old, according to The Bureau of Labour Statistics. This means that the workforce for the truck driving industry is aging – which presents a problem, as trucks will be needed to deliver goods more than ever, as the population and economy keep growing, and the demand for goods increases. Many truck drivers are retiring or thinking about retiring, which undoubtedly doesn’t help meet that demand.
FTL freight transportation also requires a kind of lifestyle that may not appeal to younger adults. The bottom line is that the lifestyle is gruelling – it requires constant travel, many hours that often lead to fatigue, and this results in a median pay of around 44 thousand a year. There are more lucrative careers that can offer more stability, or the opportunity to start a family, which make it hard for the trucking industry to attract newcomers.
FTL freight transportation needs dedicated adults who take pride in what they do. Because the demand is so high, one plus is that wages have increased. However, technological advances pose a threat to the industry. Both Wal-Mart and Amazon have more than hinted at drone delivery, even going as far as to apply for specific patents that show that these two corporate giants plan to shift to delivering goods through drones. Drones can be appealing because many people view drones are a more environmentally friendly option, not to even speak of the convenience, speed, or safety involved. However, we all know that there are safety issues involved with drones as well. Thankfully, there has not been an incident involving a drone and a commercial aircraft, but experts in the industry warn that this is not only a distinct possibility but inevitable. Of course, there are accidents in truck driving – but it is clear that freight transportation will maintain the backbone of the way goods are delivered for a while now.
The advent of drone technology may threaten FTL freight transportation, but truck driving is the most critical way to move goods from one place to another. While the workforce may be aging, and the career may not be as appealing as it once was, we all know that the economy finds a way to meet consumer demand, and freight transportation should be no exception.