Truck Freight Rose Nearly 7% Last Year

An industry group said the sector recovered despite “a challenging environment.”

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The amount of freight transported by the nation’s heavy-duty trucks increased last year despite continued challenges, according to a new report from an industry group.

The American Trucking Associations’ annual American Trucking Trends report found that trucks moved 10.93 billion tons of freight in 2021, up nearly 7% from the 10.23 billion tons shipped in 2020. Those shipments generated more than $875 billion in revenue, which equated to nearly 81% of the nation’s overall freight spending — also up slightly compared to last year.

Trucks moved nearly two-thirds of the surface trade between the U.S. and Canada and nearly 83% of cross-border trade with Mexico.

“This year’s report found that despite a challenging environment, trucking did experience growth and maintained its position as the dominant freight mode,” ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said in a statement.

The report also found that the number of people employed by the trucking industry increased by about 340,000 last year to nearly 8 million, including just shy of 3.5 million professional drivers. More than 46% of drivers were minorities, and nearly 8% were women, which set a new record.

The ATA said 95.7% of the nation’s fleets comprise 10 or fewer trucks, while 99.7% percent operate less than 100 trucks.

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