America’s main transport

Most of the cargo in the USA is transported by road, this is a huge and demonopolized market.

Hundreds of companies and freight broker training school are developing sleeping cabins. From simply reshaping the insides of the original sleeping bags to installing an entire mobile home complete with kitchen, dry closet, double bed and TV panels and a 231-inch (5.87 m) mirrored ceiling. Heavy truck manufacturers themselves do not hesitate to create special customized versions. Particularly successful models and series that have come to the liking of American truckers are produced with minimal alterations for decades and sometimes cost twice as much on the secondary market as passing models of a similar year and mileage. US truck icons include, for example, the Kenworth W900, the Peterbilt 379 (immortalized in the Hollywood movie adaptation of the Transformers comics), Volvo VNL, Mack Pinnacle (also owned by Volvo AB), Freightliner Classic and Century, Western Star 4900 (the last two brands are owned by Daimler). With the price of a new tractor in the range of $100,000-150,000, the conversion of several tens of thousands of dollars, justified by tax cuts, does not bother private owners of tractors.

The long haul market in the US is huge and completely demonopolized. According to the consulting company IBISWorld, at the beginning of 2017, the turnover of the long-distance cargo transportation industry by cars amounted to $182 billion, and in the period 2011-2016. it grew by an average of 2.1% per year. The industry employed 1.09 million people, 388,698 companies and private entrepreneurs functioned.

At the same time, there were no companies with a dominant share in the market. The largest national road freight carrier Swift Transportation, even after the merger with Knight Transportation announced in April, will operate 23,000 tractors, 77,000 trailers and 28,000 personnel, expecting to reach a turnover of $ 5.1 billion. But already now, 3,900 tractors participating in the Swift business do not belong to the company, but to private owners – drivers. According to IBISWorld data as of May 2015, about 90% of cargo carriers in the country were self-employed – individual entrepreneurs.

Main transport
Any manufacturing or commercial enterprise in the United States that has access to a highway prefers to use road transport to deliver the necessary raw materials and products. Cars allow you to build a workflow on the principle of just in time, which reduces the cost of warehousing and storage. Thus, everything is delivered to the USA by trucks of different classes, except for bulk products over long distances (this is done by the railroad) and oil and gas (pipelines and tankers). Trucking as a whole contributes, according to various estimates, 5-6% to the gross national product of the United States.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the US Department of Transportation (Bureau of Transportation Statistics, BTS), in 2013, 12.66 billion tons of cargo were transported by road in the country out of a total freight turnover of 18.2 billion tons (for comparison: by rail – 1, 7 billion tons, and pipeline – 1.4 billion tons). According to BTS, in 2013, 2.47 million trucks with trailers were used on express roads, motorways (highways), slightly less than 1% of all vehicles moving in the country – 255.88 million. According to BTS forecast, by 2040, freight traffic on roads will grow to 17.04 billion tons.

Strategic roads
The National Highway System (NHS) with a length of 259,032 km, and its basis is the federal highway system (Interstate Highway System, 77,017 km), which began to be built in 1956 under President Eisenhower, finished as a whole in 1992, but continue to gradually expand. In the US, these roads are considered strategically important for defense, economy, and population mobility, and their maintenance and safety are coordinated by the states and the federal government.

Restrictions are also often expressed by the American Trucking Associations (ATA), the largest industry organization, whose leaders met in March 2017 with President Donald Trump, who promised easing of regulation, including the abolition of mandatory health insurance, Obamacare. According to the ATA, the trucking industry has a turnover of $725 billion, employs about 7.3 million Americans and delivers 70% of the country’s goods, and one in 16 jobs in the US is in a truck driver’s seat.

red semi-truck and trailer on a north carolina highway

Truckers also have complaints about the Hours of Service (HOS) rules updated in 2013 for truck drivers. According to them, the driver can drive for 11 hours with a mandatory half-hour break after the first eight hours, work no more than 14 hours in a row (including loading and maintenance), and then rest for at least 10 hours, as well as other restrictions on the duration of work per week. The driver must write down his daily routine in a special book. Drivers complain that with the new edition of HOS they are making less money, given the industry’s most common pay-per-kilometer system.

Truckers income
According to the US Department of Employment, a heavy truck driver earned an average of $21.5 an hour, or an annual salary of $44,750. Numerous advertisements for hiring heavy truck drivers promise to pay about the same. A driver of his own truck can earn about 2 times more, according to ATA, an average of $ 73,000 (official statistics do not take into account the income of the self-employed) – the simplicity of organizing a business and the high demand for carrier services motivate individuals well. But the prestige of the profession, especially among young people, is falling.

weight tax
The Special Highway Heavy Truck Tax (HVUT) is levied in the US on vehicles over 55,000 pounds (20.5 tons) gross vehicle weight. The tax is calculated as $100 per car plus $22 for every 1,000 pounds of weight over 55,000 pounds, and $550 for cars over 75,000 pounds (28 tons) gross weight.

In addition, the business of hauliers is closely connected with the retail industry, and that, in turn, with the consumer activity of the population (households). Periods of downturn in buying activity – such as during the financial crisis – are clearly correlated with a drop in sales of heavy trucks and a reduction in freight traffic, said Lighthouse Investment Management, which compiles macroeconomic reviews of the US economy. In the coming years, road transport will remain the most widely used mode of transportation in the United States, although there will be increased competition in the industry due to fluctuating fuel prices and growing consumer environmental concerns (mainly due to diesel-powered trucks that doctors and environmentalists are up in arms against). . – “Vedomosti”), according to IBISWorld.