semi hauling Amazon Prime trailer over a bridge

Trucking industry forecast 2024

After a long trucking recession post-pandemic, there’s good news on the way. Global e-commerce is estimated to reach $36 trillion by 2026, up from $4.9 trillion in 2021. Keep reading for the latest trucking news to see how Relay can help carriers thrive in 2024’s freight market.

How’s the trucking industry doing?

We know times have been tough for fleet owners and owner-operators. It’s too simple to say rates are down and roads are crowded – 2020’s boom in e-commerce reshaped the industry. The pandemic pushed more customers online and businesses quickly adapted, flooding the web with products.

There was a massive, urgent demand for freight spurred by home shopping. Subscriptions, social media commerce, and online groceries all surged, requiring regular shipments. As customer desire for same-day delivery rose, so did the need for more carriers. 3.54 million truck drivers hit the road in 2022, up 1.5% from 2021, all to tap into the new freight demand.

By 2022, there was an oversaturation of carriers ready to deliver. Today’s softer freight rates aren’t tied to a green light on travel and events so much as an imbalance of carrier capacity compared to demand. There’s plenty of opportunity for freight, but competition is fierce. Next to overhead costs, it’s the main reason trucking industry statistics show signs of a mass carrier exodus brewing in 2024.

Will the trucking industry get better in 2024?

If not by fall 2024, most trucking industry forecasts report the market is due to improve for carriers by spring 2025. Not quickly or all at once, but it’s on the way to recovery. The number of trucking companies is down, which is restoring the balance for those who can haul.

Amazon has thousands of loads ready to be booked every day–sign up for Relay to see what’s available.

Survival is not all about rates. Here are some of the other trucking industry trends taking center stage in 2024, and what Relay is doing to help.

Trucking tech is keeping carriers streamlined and competitive

Tech has evolved to save trucking companies time and money. Here’s how Relay is contributing to less human error and lower operating costs for carriers.

  1. Load automation: Relay helps eliminate the need for scanning load boards yourself to find front and backhauls. Your company can get recommended loads based on its history of distance, equipment, roundtrips, etc. Carriers can also Post A Truck with set parameters to instantly book when work meets your company’s criteria.
  2. Route optimization: Our tracking helps carriers make informed scheduling and inventory decisions. Relay’s app navigation is designed to reduce detours and unnecessary mileage to save your company fuel. Booking spot work through the app also provides suggested reloads, adding legs to a driver’s trip.

Trucking safety and compliance is under a microscope

Carrier capacity and tight maintenance budgets have increased the likelihood of accidents on the road, leading to stricter fines and penalties. Here’s how to prepare for safety audits.

  1. Industry regulations: Safety is getting special attention from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), especially hours of service (HOS). Relay provides the alerts your company needs to keep up with regulations.
  2. Driver wellness: Trucking companies need to focus on keeping drivers safe and happy to avoid turnover. Relay has the ability to sort loads by driver preference to better retain qualified professionals. And with weekly payments and additional training programs on driver retention, we have your company’s back.
  3. Tech solutions: Dash cams, driver monitoring systems, collision avoidance, lane departure warnings, and electronic logging devices (ELDs) — major enhancements are available for trucking safety and compliance. From weather summaries to commercial navigation, Relay’s driver-facing side of the app is right there with them.

Trucking company operation costs increase

Ownership has always required financial adaptability and 2024 will be no different. Amazon’s stability and Relay’s discounts can help carriers and owner-operators sustain a profit.

  1. Fuel: Fuel was the 2nd-highest trucking-related expense in 2022 (28% of all costs). From the Red Sea attacks to the Panama Canal drought, global events continue to disrupt oil pricing and trade routes. Relay offers eligible carriers a Comdata fuel card to save on diesel fuel from leading vendors. Our savings on FlowBelow Aerokits also help curb fuel usage.
  2. Trucks: Rising labor costs and a scarcity of parts = price hikes. Carriers have been running on the same equipment to save money, but that often means more maintenance. Relay’s TravelCenters of America discounts can also help cut costs on preventative maintenance, tractor lube, and DOT inspections.
  3. Insurance: Premiums rose for both drivers and fleets. Relay’s partnership with McGriff Insurance offers competitive quotes that meets Amazon’s requirements.

Transportation fraud persists

From cargo theft to identity theft, the transportation industry needs to teach carriers how to protect all of their assets.

  1. Double brokering: Increasing significantly each year, fake load transfers are the biggest target for cargo theft. Amazon will never tender a Relay load on another site, with an aim to ensure cargo is only brokered once.
  2. Phishing: To avoid email scams asking for sensitive information, always ensure communications are secure and authentic. Relay hosts Learning Center trainings on our carrier site to recognize fraud schemes and safeguard data.
  3. Identity theft: Relay offers verification processes for carriers and drivers before they can access loads. This includes driver identification checks and carriers having their own active DOT number. Additionally, Relay’s pickup/dropoff instructions, vehicle tracking, and pre-planned routes all aid successful delivery.

Flexibility aids carrier needs

Carriers are finding it harder to rely on one source of loads. Many are finding and accepting loads on demand as well as bidding on dedicated routes for consistency.

  1. Changing market demands: For carriers to stay agile in their operations, that includes the type of cargo they’re able to transport. Relay helps carriers run their business their way by mixing contracts and spot work. They don’t have to scramble to fill gaps.
  2. Seasonal variations: The trucking industry has always experienced peaks in demand. But given the popularity of e-commerce, fluctuations in the freight market are going to be less dramatic and sporadic. Amazon has consistent work available year-round, with upwards of 15,000 loads on Relay’s load board at any given moment.

In 2024, the trucking industry outlook is slowly but surely on the mend. And Amazon Relay’s amount of spot freight and trucking contracts has a lot to offer for those who continue to haul. To apply to become a Relay carrier, click here.

Disclaimer: Amazon does not tender loads through any third-party load boards. Any Amazon loads posted on third-party load boards will only be tendered directly to approved and onboarded carriers via the Relay web portal or Relay mobile app. If you are interested in hauling loads for Amazon, sign up and book directly on

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