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Chaos creates trucking challenges in 2023

Dec. 11, 2023
Costs, the economy, labor shortages, and fraud are among fleets’ most significant concerns this year, according to a new study on fleet operations.

The trucking challenges keep coming and this year is no different, with soft freight, soaring fuel prices, and supply chain woes all complicating commerce in 2023. And those issues are on top of the industry's persistent problems, like tractor parking, cargo theft, and the post-pandemic surplus of truck capacity.

There was a big amount of chaos that was generated during the pandemic,” said Ryan Plutnicki, chief customer officer at Motive. “Then, for the years that followed, there was, in some cases, a big boon and, in some cases, a lot of turmoil.

During those high times, company drivers ventured out on their own. Plutnicki said many drivers have returned to company trucking because the current trucking climate has made it difficult for independent owner-operators to make it on their own.

To gauge just how much this dismal year has impacted companies that employ physical operations—such as trucking, oil and gas, and construction companies—Motive, an integrated operations platform for the physical economy, surveyed 1,000 leaders and decision-makers in the industry.

2023’s top trucking challenges

Macroeconomic challenges have the most significant impact on physical operations, according to survey results. The biggest threats over the past 12 months were identified as:

  • Rising costs of insurance premiums, fuel, maintenance, accident-related expenses, etcetera, for 59% of respondents.
  • Economic instability with interest rates, inflation, lack of access to capital, and more, for 51% of respondents.
  • Labor shortages and talent retention were top concerns for 50% of respondents in management but only 39% of respondents in the C-suite. 
  • 42% identified supply chain issues as a top concern of 2023.
  • Operational efficiencies, such as mismanaged assets, lack of visibility into operations, excess admin work, and more, concerned 36% of respondents.
  • Extreme weather events concerned 33%.
  • Regulatory issues and changes affected 32% of respondents.

When viewed on an operational level, these industry concerns have led to an average loss of $867,634 per company, with many companies reporting losses of $1 million or higher, according to the report.

Read more at FleetOwner.com, a Bulk Transporter affiliate.

About the Author

Jade Brasher

Senior Editor Jade Brasher has covered vocational trucking and fleets for the past five years. A graduate of The University of Alabama with a degree in journalism, Jade enjoys telling stories about the people behind the wheel and the intricate processes of the ever-evolving trucking industry.