Throughout the year, we’ve taken notes from transportation experts on emerging and continuing industry trends. As the end of 2022 draws near, we’ve rounded up the top trends and predictions for 2023 to help companies stay on top of and adapt to an ever-evolving industry.
What are the top transportation trends?
#1 Emphasis on driver retention through benefits
The national diver shortage is not a new trend. However, this past year, industry professionals have noticed a shift from focusing on recruiting new drivers to retaining quality ones.
High turnover in the industry leads to burnout for good, experienced drivers. Even if your drivers are independent contractors (ICs), you can implement a strong retention program into your business by utilizing a third party that can offer attractive benefits for ICs.
Speaking of benefits, as younger people enter the workforce, mental health aids are no longer a “nice to have.” This generation embraces therapy and personal development, so contracting companies should take note. Plus, studies have shown that a happy worker is likelier to stay engaged with your company and perform better.
#2 Building a strong, defined company culture
Tying into driver retention, top-performing ICs are more likely to stay engaged with contracting companies they enjoy. Part of embodying a strong company culture is ensuring your managers are well-versed in the nuances of IC management. Yes, there must be a separation between W-2 employees and independent contractors, but ultimately, you’re still dealing with people. Make sure your company is a great workplace, regardless of employment status.
#3 Retirees are coming back to work
As inflation continues to impact retirement accounts, this demographic may be looking for part-time work to help rebuild their savings. Contracting with retirees is a win-win. Retirees can work on their own schedule, while the contracting company benefits from having what’s often a positive influence on the team with an inspiring work ethic.
#4 Mergers & acquisitions will continue to boom
In the past few years, the industry has witnessed an unprecedented amount of transportation companies buying, selling, and merging. As we discussed with Spencer Tenney, President and CEO of The Tenney Group on this podcast, the trend continued into 2022.
According to a recent Customized Logistics and Delivery Association article, Spencer explains that the M&A momentum will continue into 2023. “One of the most active and rapidly growing verticals is the final-mile space, where e-commerce and ‘ease of delivery/installation’ continue to be attractive to consumers across all sectors. Carriers will want access to this space as it provides ample opportunities for the future. This, along with the need to combat rising expenses across the board, will contribute to high M&A activity in the upcoming year.”
If you’re preparing for a merger or acquisition in the new year, be sure to enlist a third-party administrator to ensure compliance with your IC documentation.
#5 Sustainable values
Shippers are facing consumer demands to lessen the impact of vehicles on the road. In the U.S., 27% of greenhouse emissions come from the transportation industry, with 57% of that coming from light-duty vehicles often used in last-mile delivery.
More consumers and companies are making a move toward electric vehicles. Other measures transportation companies can take are switching to LED lighting and reducing paperwork by investing in digital automation technology to organize and store important documents in the cloud.
#6 Proposed legislation changes affect independent contractors
Recent shifts in the political landscape mean that transportation companies that utilize an independent contractor workforce need to shore up their business model. Any new legislation can present challenges, but that will not stop most transportation companies from utilizing a 1099 workforce in 2023.
2022 highlights include the resurfacing of AB5 in California, as well as the U.S. Department of Labor’s new proposed rule.
For transportation companies to remain successful despite legislation, focus on changing the business model to meet the compliance elements born out of any legislation or court ruling.
#7 Expect increases in auto insurance premiums
As transportation demands continue to rise and qualified drivers are in shortage, more people without formal training are raising their hands, saying, “Sure, I’ll drive.” But if these well-intentioned people are not adequately vetted, operating in compliance with transportation laws, or properly insured, this puts multiple parties at risk.
And risk equals higher insurance rates. As claims increase, a recent publication by Risk Strategies predicts a 15-25% rate increase in transportation in 2023.
Being locked into expensive long-term insurance policies can be an immense hurdle for independent contractors. ICs should have the option to pay premiums based on the work performed, so they are only billed for periods they have provided services.
Reviewing these trends for 2023, one thing is clear: technology is instrumental for transportation companies that contract with ICs. Third-party administrators such as Openforce provide software platforms with robust data organization and storage features. We also employ some of the industry’s top talent, which our clients benefit from regarding legal questions, insurance, and general industry expertise.
Don’t wait for 2023 to arrive. Contact us today to learn how Openforce can solidify your independent contractor workforce model.