43% of Truckloads Moved Less than Half Full in 2023, Study Reveals

43% of Truckloads Moved Less than Half Full in 2023, Study Reveals

Flock Freight and Drive Research has released a study revealing 43% of truckloads in 2023 moved partially empty, with an average of 29 linear feet of unused deck space.

The inefficiency equates to 1 in 4 truckloads moving empty, representing a significant economic and environmental concern.

Called “Wasted Space, Wasted Dollars: The Economic Impact of Inefficient Freight,” the study examines the costs associated with underutilized truckload space and the inefficiencies of less-than-truckload shipping, according to a news release. It surveyed 1,000 transportation decision-makers in the U.S. from various industries, providing a view of the challenges and strategies employed to drive efficiency.

“Historically, the U.S. truckload market has been locked into a binary concept of ‘full’ or ‘empty’ when it comes to trailer capacity,” Chris Pickett, chief operating officer at Flock Freight, said in the release. “We are challenging both shippers and carriers alike to rethink this. With 43% of truckloads moving only partially full, there’s a massive opportunity for businesses to maximize trailer utilization and reduce overall transportation spend with our Shared Truckload solution.”

The research highlights the hidden costs of less-than-truckload shipping, with the average enterprise shipper incurring up to $6.3 million annually in damage and loss claims, the release said. Additionally, unexpected accessorial fees and the time spent by employees managing these issues add to the financial burden on businesses.

Exiting a deflationary phase of the truckload freight cycle in 2024, the industry braces for heightened economic impacts, the release said. As a result, 90.8% of shippers have raised their budgets by 1% to 10% to navigate the expected market shifts.

The study also found growing concerns around fraud and theft within the freight industry. In 2023, 89% of shippers were affected by these issues, with 1 in every 43 shipments impacted, the release said, which leads to direct financial losses and causes a ripple effect of reduced earnings, unexpected fines and a decline in customer satisfaction.

The whitepaper sheds light on the problems and presents innovative solutions, and it serves as a resource for shippers seeking to uncover new opportunities to reduce costs within their transportation programs, the release said.