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You are here: Home News In Brief Research from ATRI Identifies E-Commerce Impacts on the Trucking Industry

Research from ATRI Identifies E-Commerce Impacts on the Trucking Industry

The American Transportation Research Institute released an analysis of the impacts that emerging e-commerce trends are having on the trucking industry, including the challenges and opportunities that more regionalized retail supply chains and the proliferation of urban “last mile” deliveries have presented.

The analysis found that from 1999-2017, e-commerce sales increased from less than one percent of total U.S. retail sales to more than nine percent, reflecting a 3,000 percent increase in e-commerce sales. At the same time, e-commerce increases have pushed retailers to decentralize their distribution networks.

The study concluded that these changes put the trucking industry in a unique position to prosper as retailers "become more reliant on their logistics partners," but trucking also needs to adapt to meet the new needs.

One way that trucking is adapting is with shorter hauls. Retailers operate fewer physical department stores but report a a growing percentage of "last mile fulfillment centers." To accommodate retail's decentralization, the number of intra-regional and last-mile truck trips has increased while the average length of haul has declined. Average trip lengths have decreased 37 percent since 2000, while urban vehicle miles traveled have increased for much of this time period.

Another adaptation that ATRI proposes would serve the industry is using these shorter, more local hauls to train 18-20-year-old drivers, representing a huge new pool of potential interstate CDL drivers.

“ATRI’s research provides a critical roadmap for trucking industry stakeholders to address the challenges and benefits of e-commerce and omni-channel retailing,” said Tom Benusa, CIO of Transport America. “These trends are game-changing, and our industry must adapt quickly to ensure that trucking continues to be the preeminent freight mode.”

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Arkansas Trucking Association
PO Box 3476 (72203)
1401 West Capitol Ave.
Little Rock, AR 72201

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  • PROTECT the collective interests of trucking companies in the political and regulatory arenas.
  • PROMOTE the dynamics of trucking so that people have a better understanding of the link between America's primary freight delivery system and the standard of living they enjoy.
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You are here: Home News In Brief Research from ATRI Identifies E-Commerce Impacts on the Trucking Industry