Could trucking costs decrease by a buck a mile by 2030? FTR thinks so

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — On the same day Google made news for patenting a driverless delivery truck, industry forecaster FTR predicted trucking costs could decrease as much as a dollar per mile within the next 15 years.

Speaking on a Webinar about the current truck market, FTR senior consultant Noel Perry teased an upcoming Webinar that will examine in detail how this precipitous drop in transportation costs could become a reality.

“We are convinced very strongly that a digitally-fuelled technological revolution will dramatically reduce the cost of trucking and expand capacity at the same time,” Perry said.

He predicts trucking costs could go from about US$2.20 per mile today to about $1.20 per mile in 2030.

“We think this revolution is equally important to the economy of the US as the invention of the super-highways in the 1950s,” he said. “This is a big deal.”

Perry said there are three enablers at play: autonomous vehicles that may be able to deliver product without drivers; greater access to information, which will reduce downtime and waste, allowing trucks to operate around the clock; and the arrival of larger, heavier trucks which will be allowed due to the increased safety brought by automation.

“We fully expect that as highways are automated, larger trucks will be allowed,” Perry said. “Not only do you get better labour productivity and asset productivity but the trucks get bigger.”

You can register for the Apr. 14 Webinar here.

James Menzies is editor of Today's Trucking. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 20 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies.

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  • I am totally amazed at how so many supposedly intelligent individuals think that a truck can drive its self, maneuver in and out of loading docks, through snarled traffic in major cities where the roads we never built for trucks in the first place, deal with unexpected high winds, black ice and on and on and do it without a human being on board. And to think that you can drop the cost of transportation by a buck a mile… Son you must have graduated from Purdue University. You are absolutely off your rocker. The technology alone that all you geeks are jamming down our throats will end up raising costs a buck a mile. Everyone thinks technology is the answer. Yes it helps but it still takes a human to build it, maintain it, operate it and monitor it so that corrections can be made when it screws up. And to think Noel is even operating in the backyard of my Alma Mater makes me sick at my stomach.

    Even if the industry goes to autonomous trucks, someone will still have to be in them. They will not be allowed to make final deliveries to the door. There will have to be so much cross-docking and sorting to smaller trucks and vans that the costs are going to be driven even higher simply because of the extra handling.

    I am so amazed that people are still practicing Alchemy; trying to turn cow shit into gold!!!!

  • I’ve never seen a world so hell bent on eliminating jobs that humans do. What are we suppose to do when we’re put out of work especially people who can’t be retrained. I’ve driven for 20 yrs and your telling me you’re going to get rid of drivers I hope they realize how much drivers commit to economy with there spending. All I can say to Google is get over yourself and stop trying to eliminate jobs and start creating jobs for people like myself who have learning disability and can’t be retrained. You need professional drivers not computers we spend in the economy computers don’t .

  • Just read an article on MSN news that they want to start eliminating driver jobs by 2030. There is a downfall cause it’s predicting a 50% unemployment rate but large corporations don’t care. So if your young and looking at getting into truck driving don’t cause they want to get rid of us.

  • The math is easy to believe though. Some trucking companies dropped rates $1.00 per mile just in a few months during the recession. It didn’t take fifteen years!!