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If you pay attention to the warning signs, there are good reasons for owner-operators to be worried about the state of the trucking industry.

Experts warn that the truckload freight market is headed for trouble in 2022

This spring, rising inflation, skyrocketing fuel prices, and drastic changes in consumer spending are conspiring against owner-operators, cutting deep into already razor-thin profit margins.

Since the COVID-19 crisis began, more truck drivers entered the industry in response to high consumer demand for goods, but that demand is clearly cooling in response to decades-high levels of inflation and the conflict in Ukraine. After two years of strong freight rates, the bubble appears to be breaking and some industry insiders are sounding the alarm that a major freight market slowdown or even a recession will pull rates down to ominously low levels. Smaller carriers that depend on the spot market for loads are already feeling the effects of plummeting rates.

Experts predict a “trucking downturn” that some motor carriers will struggle through and that others simply won’t survive. Bankruptcies and sudden company closures like the ones that became commonplace in 2019 (think Celadon, Falcon Transport, LME, and NEMF) could become a regular occurrence once again.

How will you protect your business from volatile market conditions?

Strategic partnerships may be the owner-operator’s best bet for shielding their business from the market downshift looming on the horizon.

The team at XPO Logistics is offering a host of solutions to insulate owner-operators from the worst-case scenarios, helping them to weather the storm of 2022 and emerge on the other side stronger and better prepared to take on 2023 and beyond.

XPO’s innovative Choice Fleet program allows owner-operators to remain agile and flexible even in the toughest freight markets, booking multiple loads and locking in top rates before they have a chance to edge downward.

By leveraging the program’s Drive XPO™ app, a proprietary freight selection platform, owner-operators can select lanes, rates, pickups, and deliveries for each load without spending extra time negotiating with brokers over rates. Through the app, Choice Fleet users select loads with set rates, eliminating the wait time for an offer to be accepted and insulating themselves from falling freight rates.

The app also allows users to keep track of the status of current and planned loads, allowing truckers to stay on top of their business and make better informed decisions.

Owner-operators can even opt to work in-network to book multiple loads at one time through the app, strategically utilizing XPO’s massive network spanning all 48 states to maximize profits while placing themselves in areas they know will be the best for their business. Carriers who prefer dedicated lanes can also find what they’re looking for within the expansive XPO network.

Reynaldo Morales, owner of Bullies Transportation in Myerstown, PA, currently has two trucks signed on with the Choice Fleet. He has been with them for almost two years and likes the freedom, partnership, and of course, the revenues. “The freight they have available to me keeps me moving, and they are always there to help me solve problems. I run my business and they give me suggestions if they see something that can help me. My goal is to add at least one more truck this year and two next year. If I am not at 10-15 trucks by the end of 2025, I will be surprised,” Morales said.

XPO’s status as one of the largest transportation providers in the U.S., along with its unique partnership relationship with owner-operators, allows the company to offer carriers the resources that they need to succeed, even in the toughest markets. XPO’s dispatch service team communicates with customers on the carrier’s behalf and time-consuming tasks like scheduling appointments are taken care of automatically. Weekly pay, top-of-the line trailers and trailer maintenance, and access to fuel, insurance and tractor maintenance discounts are just a few of the ways that XPO works to ensure the best possible chance for success of their owner-operators. 

Set yourself up for success in XPO’s Choice Fleet

To learn more about how your trucking operation can power through tough times by partnering with XPO’s robust network of assets, please reach out to the team at this link, through email at [email protected], or call 844-750-6125.

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