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Importance of Trucking To U.S. Agriculture

Posted Date : 2017-08-11 00:00:00


Multiple kinds of transportation hasten the development of agriculture. These allow specialization of agricultural production, progress of rural communities, and development of local, national and regional economies. Among these, farm to market trucking was the initial mode of freight transportation, which was widely available.

Trucking is a transport service that is obtained easily everywhere and provides flexible service. Trucking is a vital mode of transport for rural America. Trucking carries 70% of food and agricultural products, fertilizers, alcohol, wood products, lumber, paperboard articles, paper and pulp. Thus it is an important part of agricultural shipping services.

 In 2013, 64% of all grain movements was carried by trucks, including 78% of domestic movements of food grains and 20% of exports of the same. Trucking provides a link of ranchers, farmers, service industries and manufacturers to ethanol plants, packing houses, feedlots, processors, port, barge and rail terminals.

 The efficiency of trucking makes the US highly competitive in the international market for agricultural goods. The link with port, barge and rail facilities is particularly important due to the competitive and complementary relationship among types of transport.

 Any interruption in the multi-modal transport chain in urban and rural areas and also inland terminals and ports has a big impact on agricultural prices and markets.

In the supply chain linking farms to consumers, trucking is responsible to provide last miles or first miles or even the complete miles. This holds true for the agricultural sector like other industries. In fact, trucking is used heavily for farm inputs like seeds, chemicals, fertilizer, feed, equipment and fuel. Consumers, retailers, wholesalers, shippers and growers benefit from door to door service, timeliness and flexibility provided by trucking, particularly in the case of agricultural products that are perishable.

In 2014, trucks were responsible for transporting almost 10 billion tons of freight, across the nation. This accounted for nearly 68% of the total tonnage transported by all modes of transport.  In the same year, over 80% of freight revenue from all the modes of transport was accounted for by trucking amounting to nearly $700 billion.

Trucking serves as a critical link for the national economy and a major part of the complete trucking activity is transporting agricultural products. According to latest surveys, agricultural freight amounted to a major portion of all goods transported by truck. Agriculture goods shipping is  heavily dependent on trucking.

Truck freight rates are moderated by intermodal and intramodal competition.  Trucking serves as both competitor and complement to major transport modes which are crucial in transport of agricultural goods such as ocean, barge and rail shipping.

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