Covid 19 had a major impact on trucking costs, according to the 2021 Analysis of the Operational Costs of Trucking published annually by the American Transportation Research Institute.
“The various line-item cost centers clearly document the numerous impacts that the Covid 19 pandemic had on trucking and the economy in general,” the ATRI report observed.
In addition to faster truck speeds, other Covid 19 impacts were considerable: Dead-head miles increased to 20.6%, annual operating miles decreased to 89,358 miles per truck, and fuel costs declined by nearly 20% to 30.8 cents per mile.
Independent of Covid 19 impacts, insurance costs continued recent years’ climb, rising more than 18% to 8.7 cents per mile – the highest in ATRI’s Ops Costs report history.
While truck driver wages increased from 2019 to 2020, benefits costs per mile decreased. Overall truck driver compensation was 73.7 cents per mile.
Separately, safety and retention bonuses increased by 10.5% and 14.2% respectively, but starting bonuses dropped by 10% – reflecting the soft driver marketplace in early 2020 for many sectors.
Overall, the average marginal cost per mile incurred by motor carriers in 2020 decreased five cents per mile to $1.64. When the per-mile costs are converted to hourly costs, the report found that total hourly costs dropped slightly to $66.87.
“In the face of a Covid 19 economy, our industry tightly managed costs and operations, while delivering essential goods to market,” said Cully Frisard, chief operating officer of Frisard Cos. “We also led the way out of the Covid 19 recession in the latter half of the year. I expect 2021 to continue the positive trends for our industry.”