E-commerce is the main factor impacting the future of LTL freight. E-commerce grew from 2017 to 2020 & its growth continues to rise. The growth rate for e-commerce spending has been between 13 to 16 % over each of the past five years. This rapid growth has been found throughout the supply chain, but particularly on less-than-truckload services.
In the E-commerce industry, smaller shipments with a higher frequency are becoming more common. The increase in demand is forcing the LTL industry to redefine expectations. Industry authorities are developing their abilities and contributing to expedited delivery and doing their best to improve on it. LTL shippers are undertaking direct home delivery services since the pressure is on shippers and retailers, who are redesigning their distribution models to deliver a useful service for customers.
Providers have the pressure from retailers to offer added service levels with the hope that an even better delivery experience will attract new customers and keep them coming back. Adapting to these changes will be costly for providers, and rates are guaranteed to rise. Demand is rising, and existing LTL providers will enhance operations to fill the void. More small carriers and third-party logistics providers will start popping up as well.
Advanced technology has a significant role in LTL freight. Improved technology, data and tracking are beneficial to shippers, the end recipient and carriers through the optimizing of pickup/delivery times and routing. Artificial intelligence is the next trend. The e-commerce industry is growing. Small and medium-sized businesses use LTL freight to move their products. Investing in new technology and improvements in LTL strategy as a whole will lead to a rise in operating costs. The increase in e-commerce sales has also increased the demand for faster order fulfilment. Smaller, more frequent shipments are becoming more common. There will be a demand for not just existing services, but providing new offerings as well. As an LTL shipper, you can expect these changes to start rolling out over the coming years. Consider the demand for residential delivery, curbside delivery and other more intimate services that require time and fuel. These improvements will carry additional costs for you, as carriers add specialized services that demand more work hours and they start incorporating new equipment into their fleet.