Innovation In The Trucking Industry

As the economy continues to improve and freight demand expands, trucking companies of all stripes are innovating at a very high level. Whether it’s through cross-border logistics or catering to specific industry, fleets are finding new ways to get by through innovation and niche marketing.

Let’s take a look at a couple examples of where this targeted approach is yielding big dividends for particular market players.

A New Take on Cross-Border Logistics

Every single day, over $1.4 billion in commercial trade takes place between the United States and Mexico. The United States is Mexico’s largest trading partner, and second-largest export market.

As manufacturing growth increases across Mexico, the burgeoning middle class is consuming more goods, resulting in a higher level of intermodal, cross-border trade. Logistically, this can be a challenge.

Fortunately, big players like UPS are establishing a new standard of excellence where cross-border trade is concerned. As a result of their renewed focus on cross-border trade, UPS has reported 20 percent increase in requests for Mexico-to-US or US-to-Mexico shipments.

This represents a new phase in cross-border shipping. Previously, individuals and companies moving freight to Mexico never had an option for express or expedited shipping. Today, UPS can guarantee LTL and package shipments in a timeframe that would have been unthinkable even ten years ago.

The industries most benefiting from this increased efficiency run the gamut from automotive to manufacturing and aerospace. As the Mexican middle class grows, shipments related to healthcare and retail will flow both ways.

UPS has gone out of its way to make a cross-functional shipping architecture that combines freight, small packages, air and ocean forwarding and even brokerage services. Rather than looking at specific business units, they are addressing shipping from a geographical standpoint.

As cross-border shipping evolves, this is just another example of how innovation is leading the movement of freight and ancillary industries. But still, there’s more.

Catering to a Niche Market

Whereas the UPS example follows a tried-and-true big box shipper, smaller companies are also getting in on the innovation game.

One such fleet, based in New York, runs a diverse fleet of trucks and equipment that caters specifically to the film industry. Today, the New York film industry brings in $9 billion per-year.

With a fleet of 50 trucks, this small carrier utilizes everything from box trucks to water trucks, along with accessorized equipment like generators and lifts.

One example is a giant water truck with a 4,000-gallon water tank. These trucks are used when a movie or television director needs a street to look freshly rained-on.

Box trucks are used to haul film equipment around for the crew. To accommodate tunnel height in the big apple, box trucks are kept at a max height of 12-feet.

Aluminum tailgates ensure a lighter ride and can cover the entire rear end of the truck when they are closed. These tailgates also provide a good level of safety when a member of the crew is standing on the tailgate with lots of equipment.

Due to the on-the-go nature of the film industry, on-demand maintenance is utilized to keep the vehicles in tip-top shape. An on-site shop is set up on location to handle routine maintenance like lube and oil changes or tire repairs.

This type of equipment was also used after the 9/11 terrorist attacks when heavy equipment was used to move large pieces of debris and provide specialized lighting for emergency workers. The same hoses that are used to give streets a wet look were utilized in dust suppression efforts.

Stories like these prove that a fleet’s work isn’t just about getting a load from Point A to Point B. Modern fleets, whether they are huge shippers or niche outfits, continue to innovate in the space and provide the trucking industry with a wide variety of jobs and duties.

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