4 Key Challenges Faced by the Transportation Industry


Every business sector has its unique set of problems to overcome. This is no different for the transportation/logistics industry. It’s quite natural in light of the importance of the said industry vertical.

Being the basic infrastructure, a country’s transportation industry is a huge indicator of its development. Any major reforms or improvements in this sector enhance the dynamicity of passengers and freight in that area.

Studies have found that the worldwide transportation services market is growing at a CAGR of 8.11% till 2032. This is good news; however, the said growth will only come after certain challenges are mastered. In this article, we will discuss the four key issues the transportation industry faces in today’s day and age.

Health and Safety

Health and safety should be a priority in every workplace, but these can become challenging within the transportation industry. There is a reason why this industrial sector has one of the highest occupational injury rates.

Being a commercial truck driver is a highly dangerous job. Let’s look at some reasons why –

  • Long hours – Fatigue is a major cause of truck accidents. Why does this normally happen? Overworking and long hours. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has strict rules regarding a driver’s health. They must not be compelled to drive when sick or unwell. However, the reality is not as rosy as rules written down on paper.
  • Pressure to drive under unsafe conditions – truck drivers often feel pressured to meet unrealistic deadlines. In many cases, they go as far as breaking safety rules just to meet the deadline. Then there is the problem of carrying unsafe loads of cargo and unsafe schedules (driving under inclement weather conditions).
  • Driver concerns not being addressed promptly – what makes the other problems even worse is the feeling of being trapped. Truck drivers may choose not to voice their concerns due to fear of losing their jobs (and most of them stay mute).

As a result, this is only putting their and other motorists’ safety at risk. Truck accidents are not only frequent these days, they are also highly dangerous and complex. In other words, victims of a truck accident must pay a heavy price in terms of physical injuries, emotional suffering, and legal costs.

Let’s take the example of a city well-known for its unsafe road conditions – St. Louis. Being a logistics hub, commercial truck accidents are commonplace in St. Louis. TorHoerman Law states that many such accidents are fatal but can also lead to life-altering injuries like paraplegia, broken bones, brain trauma, etc.

These injuries can disrupt normal life and the victim may need years (or a lifetime) to recover. Besides reduced quality of life, the legal proceedings involved in a truck accident are equally long-drawn. They will require an experienced St. Louis truck accident lawyer to bypass clever insurance company tactics and get fair compensation.

As far as the issue is concerned, the health and safety of transportation companies’ employees will only improve when they strictly adhere to Federal regulations. Also, every employer must conduct regular training and inspection sessions for safety protocol compliance.

Changes in Legislation

This challenge is more of a ‘necessary evil.’ In other words, legislation changes are common in the transportation industry because of its dynamic nature. The new regulations aim to make the industry safer and better for its customers.

However, companies often have a hard time keeping up with frequent changes in legislation. It is not only difficult to access the relevant resources but also requires a lot of time and money. The changes have to be conveyed to all employees (which may require further funds for training). The largely distributed workforce only adds to this problem.

As a result, companies are confused as to the latest changes and may fail to train workers on time. Failure to comply with the new law may lead to hefty fines, which acts as another source of discouragement. The only way to overcome this issue is to keep up with the respective government’s regulations.

Driver and Skills Shortage

Of all industries, the logistics and transportation industry ranks high in terms of an aging workforce. Most truck drivers are over 40 years of age, or they’re touching their fourth decade of life. This means these drivers are also close to their retirement.

On top of this problem, the trucking industry is also struggling to attract young and skilled employees. In other words, there is both a driver and a skill shortage in the transportation industry. If we had to dissect this issue, it would look something like this – older workers are showing little interest in learning new skills, and the younger demographics do not find truck driving an appealing profession.

Labor laws are working against their operator-owner model. As labor woes continue, the demand for truck drivers is high. Meanwhile, customer pressures have compelled existing drivers to take on extra work. This translates into overworking, carrying overweight loads, and driving on unsafe schedules and weather conditions.

The industry, as a whole, needs to adopt some necessary tactics that can help fight the labor shortage. These include proactive hiring, employee cross-training and development, regular incentives, and a healthy company culture.

Lack of a Digital Culture

Much like other industry verticals, the transportation industry has also come a long way from the tech adoption viewpoint. The dynamic combination of digitization and automation has propelled the industry’s efficiency.

Examples would include robotic warehouses, route planning technology, high-tech safety features in trucks, and whatnot. Unfortunately, this alone will not lead to progress. In fact, it has created another challenge for the industry.

Most companies still have a culture devoid of tech use and digitization. They are also finding it difficult to train workers on the more advanced technologies. Then, there is the problem of data security and privacy concerns. 

Companies are still struggling to navigate the cybersecurity space as ransomware, malware, and phishing attacks threaten to steal valuable confidential information. Logistics and transportation enterprises must race to adopt digital technologies for streamlined operations and high operational efficiency.

The issues mentioned above persist even as we enter another new year. Even so, it is undeniable that the transportation and logistics industry is among the fastest growing. As for the challenges, companies are rigorously working towards overcoming them.

However, time will reveal whether such quantum shifts can keep up with changing consumer demands, e-commerce disruption, and newer technologies.