2020 was certainly a special year. A recently released report from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) can give us some insight into how the year that most people stayed home impacted the trucking industry.
Facts & Figures
The entire document is over 230 pages long and covers many various aspects of the transportation industry, including freight handled by boat and by rail. Here are some of the more interesting data points directly related to the trucking industry.
- In 2019, trucks transported 12 billion tons of freight. For 2020, the number increased to a whopping 12.5 billion.
- Although trucking transported more weight in 2020, it transported a lower share of total weight. In 2019 trucks were responsible for 67% of all weight, and in 2020 it was down to 65%.
- Trucks are commonly used for the delivery of more valuable goods. Despite hauling 65% of all weight, trucks also hauled 73% of all value. This is an estimated $13.1 trillion worth of goods.
- COVID-19 was a boon to the e-commerce industry: its share of total retail shares increased from 10.5% to 14.6%.
- The coronavirus pandemic had a lagging effect on container port average dwell time. The average time a drayage container waited for a truck to come pick it up for each year:
- 2019: 28.2 hours.
- 2020: 28.1 hours.
- 2021: 32.1 hours.
- The most common thing shipped by truck was gravel, it being the second-highest commodity by weight and the lion’s share of it being hauled by truck. The heaviest commodity was a general category (coal and petroleum products not otherwise specified).
- 30% of all fatalities on highways in 2020 involved a driver with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher. This might seem small at first glance, but considering the sheer number of sober drivers, heavily intoxicated drivers are disproportionately responsible for highway deaths.
- Hazardous material transportation on highways became safer. 2019 saw 220 specified accidents, whereas 2020 encountered 133.
- 90.1% of all transportation energy use was petroleum products. Biomass, electricity, and natural gas are slowly establishing a foothold.
What we have covered is a surface analysis of the entire report. If you want to read it for yourself, you can do so at the relevant webpage.
As more data regarding 2021 and 2022 becomes discovered, it will certainly be interesting to see what the long-lasting impacts of the coronavirus pandemic will be on the trucking industry. While 2020 was the big year for the pandemic, did lingering fears increase the e-commerce retail share in 2021? We will have to wait and see.
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