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97 Transportation Industry Statistics You Can’t Ignore: 2020 Market Share & Data Analysis

Category: B2B News

Lately, the disruptive forces of technology and turbulent economic times have made it difficult for businesses in the transport and logistics industry to thrive. The industry is morphing into an intricate space, not just for LSPs and other industry stakeholders but also for business in general. Because of this, it’s becoming increasingly important to gain an in-depth understanding of the transportation industry statistics and data.

Transportation is, without a doubt, an indispensable economic activity for any business. It is an instrumental logistics function that entails moving goods from the warehouse to places where they are demanded. Put simply, transportation provides the essential services through which a business physically connects to its supply chain partners, namely consumers and suppliers.

In this article, we’ll reveal all the essential transportation industry data and statistics you should know. Whether you run an LSP or are looking to hire one, these stats will help you overcome the industry challenges. They’ll help you find ways to remain competitive and optimize your services to meet customer demands.

key transportation industry statistics

1. General Transportation Industry Statistics

There have been a number of emerging digital trends like the use of UAVs, autonomous trucks, artificial intelligence (AI), and augmented reality (AR). All these factors, coupled with the socio-political and economic factors, have had a telling impact on the transportation industry.

However, as the statistics below show, the growth of various sectors of the transport industry has remained unabated. In fact, transportation has continued to cement its place as a competitive force in business and an integral contributor to the global economy.

  • Logistics/trucking has the largest (35%) share of the T&L market in terms of the deal value. This sector is followed by passenger groud (26%), shipping (17%), passenger air (14%), and rail (4%). (PWC, 2019)
  • Besides, 12% if the share of technology-driven acquisitions in the travel and logistics market. (PWC, 2019)
  • Also, the global Intelligent Transport System (ITS) market in roadways will reach more than $72.3 billion by 2022. (PWC, 2019)
  • Transportation and warehousing market size in the US in 2019 will be $1.3 trillion. (IBISWorld, 2019)
  • Moreover, according to the transportation industry report the transportation and warehousing market size in the US will grow at a rate of 2.6% in 2019. (IBISWorld, 2019)
  • The annualized growth rate between 2014 and 2019 for the transportation and warehousing market will be 1.7%. (IBISWorld, 2019)
  • The rail transportation industry in the US accounts for total revenue of $80 billion. (IBISWorld, 2018)
  • Interestingly, in 2018, the container shipping market reported a growth of 4-4.5% in container volume. This is a drop compared with the 5.8% growth rate recorded in 2017. (Total Logistics, 2019)
  • Most importantly, the total logistics market size amounted to $6.1 trillion in 2018. (Total Logistics, 2019)
  • The global logistics market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.6% to reach $27 billion by 2023. (DHL, 2019)

Source PWC (2018)

Generally, a lot of things are taking place in the transport industry. There are new technologies, new entrants, increased customer expectations, and new business models. As the industry confronts these changes, both risks and opportunities will emerge, that’s for sure. As it stands, it’s difficult to accurately tell the direction the future of this industry will take.

However, going by the above statistics, it’s clear that the industry is on an upward trend. As a result, there is no need to panic. Instead, its time to devise modern strategies that will uphold your company’s position in the competitive arena. In the same sense, the onus is on you to embrace the digital transformation and look ahead to technologies that will enhance service delivery. Implementing fleet management software provides a soft start and can be the launchpad to the adoption of other innovations.

2. Freight Industry Statistics

The freight industry entails firms that move bulk goods as part of an integrated, multimodal logistics network. This can be a company transporting its goods, firms moving goods for other companies or third-party agents that arrange the movement of goods on behalf of others.

Over the years, the freight industry has experienced multiple upheavals. From increasing international freight traffic to the adoption of the smart containerization, change has been constant. Here are some interesting freight transportation industry statistics you should know.

  • The truckload in the United States is highly fragmented with over 500,000 carriers. The majority of these carriers are smaller providers working with less than 20 trucks. (Total Logistics, 2019)
  • FedEx has a parcel hub at the Memphis International Airport, operating 400 flights a night. (Total Logistics, 2019)
  • Interestingly, the Memphis International Airport was the busiest cargo airport in the US and second-largest cargo hub globally, trailing behind only Hong Kong airport. (Total Logistics, 2019)
  • Besides, freight companies in Europe with less than 50 workers account for nearly two-thirds of the total European road freight market revenues. On the other hand, companies with more than 250 employees account for approximately 10%. (Total Logistics, 2019)
  • Most importantly, according to a transportation industry market research, DHL Express, the largest international express services provider by revenue. In 2017, the company reported revenues of $13.3 billion. UPS came second with a revenue of $9.81 billion, followed by FedEx with $7.09 billion. (Total Logistics, 2019)
  • Moreover, IATA reported a growth of 3.9% in the international freight traffic at the end of November 2018. This is a significant drop compared with 10% recorded in 2017. (Total Logistics, 2019)
  • Smart containerization replaces 60% of innercity vehicle trips. (DHL, 2019)
  • Also, truckers drive over 29 billion miles with empty or partially empty truckloads. (Techcrunch, 2018)
  • According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the global freight volumes will expand more than fourfold by 2025. (Marsh)
  • Interestingly, ground transportation industry statistics, road freight the dominant segment, controlling nearly one-third of the total global logistics spend ($1972.9 billion). (Total Logistics, 2019)
  • On the other hand, air freight demand grew by 9% in 2017. This was the strongest year growth for this sector since 2010. (

driving with empty or partially empty truckloads

The widespread digitization of the transport and logistics industry, in general, has had a compelling impact on the freight industry. In spite of the numerous changes, the global freight volume continues to expand. In fact, the different sectors of the freight industry are growing, albeit rather at widely segmented rates.

For long, air freight has been a slow burner, but recently, the growth of this sector is gathering pace. Online shopping trends are tilting in favor of air freight, and unsurprisingly, express-parcel deliveries are on a massive uptick. Combined, these factors point to a burgeoning future for the air freight industry.

All that said, the future of this industry isn’t altogether promising. In fact, recently, freight businesses have been under immense pressure from environmental legislation, constant logistical change, technological disruption, and rising freight costs. Evading these pressures and minimizing backlogs have been the real challenge for industry players. Besides, while many businesses know the purpose of fleet management, some are yet to embrace technology in managing their fleet.

3. Logistics Industry Statistics

Transport and logistics are often aggregated in one industry. Transport is often used to infer the movement of goods from one place to another. On the other hand, logistics is broader than transportation; as such, it implies a more extensive spectrum of operations. Actually, logistics includes not only the transportation of goods but also packaging, storage, delivery, handling, and numerous other aspects.

As customer expectations evolve and digital transformation takes hold, the logistics industry is confronting an era of unprecedented changes. What we know is that change will be the only constant in the logistic industry. However, we cannot be sure what this industry will look like in the coming years. The following logistics statistics will help you know what to anticipate from the rapidly evolving marketplace.

  • Shipping damage accounts for 20% of the returns. (Sealed Air, 2017)
  • Besides, the rate of online returns averages between 25% and 50%. (Total Logistics, 2019)
  • On average, the cost to replace damaged products can be up to 17 times the original cost to ship. (Sealed Air, 2017)
  • Interestingly, US consumers returned eCommerce merchandise worth $23 billion during the 2017 holiday season. (Sealed Air, 2017)
  • Last-mile delivery accounts for the biggest (53%) share of delivery costs followed by collection (37%), sorting (6%), and line haul (4%). (PWC, 2019)
  • On the other hand, inhouse and outsourced contract logistics accounts for $1855.2 of the global logistics spend. (Total Logistics, 2019)
  • Besides, the global parcels market is worth $349.89 billion, which nearly 6% of the global logistics spend. (Total Logistics, 2019)
  • Also, Europe’s logistics spend accounts for more than 15% of the total global logistics spend. (Total Logistics, 2019)
  • On the other hand, North America’s logistics spend accounts for 25.1% of the total global logistics spends. (Total Logistics, 2019)
  • The biggest challenges to logistics business growth in 2017 included; competition (26.9%), stagnant global growth (21.2%), commoditization (19.2%), labor costs (7.7%), technology advancement (6.7%), and consolidation (4.8%). (JDA: global logistics report, 2017)
  • Moreover, consumers are looking for LSPs with the following services. Network optimization (62.3%), integrated warehouse & transportation (52.8%), and inventory optimization (30.2%). Also, other important services include light assembly (30.2%), supply planning (22.6%), order management (18.9%), management of online e-commerce portal (15.1%), and demand planning (5.7%). (JDA: global logistics report, 2017)
  • Also, to note, venture capitalist investment in global logistics companies was $4 billion in 2017. (McKinsey, 2018)
  • According to consumers, most LSPs come up short in the following areas. Innovation (37.7%), customer service (20.8%), leadership/management (11.3%), value for money (11.3%), reliability (11.3%), IT capabilities (5.7%), and flexibility (1.9%). (JDA: global logistics report, 2017)
  • Interestingly, in 2013, Walmart made losses of up to $3 billion because of poor inventory management. (DHL: Logistics of things,  2019)
  • 80% of warehouses today are manually operated. (DHL, 2019)
  • Because of the societal shift from ownership to asset sharing, inroads into logistics have been made. In fact, 41% of US consumers have used a shared economy offering of on-demand, expedited, or same-day delivery service. (DHL, 2019)
  • Besides, e-commerce companies are investing in logistics too. For example, the Hermes Group plan to invest up to $580 million in building and expanding high technology logistics centers, ParcelShop, and good warehouses. (PWC, 2019)
  • Interestingly, the biggest challenges with the last mile as per T&L executives include overall cost (28%), adapting to customer demands (26%), delivery efficiency (20%), and consistency (8%). (PWC, 2019)
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The Biggest Challenges to Logistics Business Growth

The Biggest Challenges to Logistics Business Growth
Competition: 26.9%


The Biggest Challenges to Logistics Business Growth
Stagnant global growth: 21.2%

Stagnant global growth

The Biggest Challenges to Logistics Business Growth
Commoditization: 19.2%


The Biggest Challenges to Logistics Business Growth
Labor costs: 7.7%

Labor costs

The Biggest Challenges to Logistics Business Growth
Technology advancement: 6.7%

Technology advancement

The Biggest Challenges to Logistics Business Growth
Consolidation: 4.8%



Source: JDA: global logistics report, 2017

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Logistics firms are all out to break industry stereotypes and claim a lion share of the $4.6 trillion industry. However, the industry is embroiled in multiple disruptions and uncertainty, and firms that are digitally unfit risk obsolescence. Whether you serve B2B or B2C businesses, its time to embrace the digital culture, study the changing customer expectations, and rethink collaboration to boost your chances of survival.

Using a reliable fleet management software can be a good start. You can read the pros and cons of clearPath GPS to understand how the solution can streamline your logistics business.

Besides, ecommerce sellers with high-velocity delivery needs can combine fleet management solutions with platforms such as Rakuten Super Logistics to streamline e-commerce delivery.

4. Digitalization of Transportation Industry Statistics

Every sector of the economy has faced a slew era-defining technological shifts, but none have felt the disruptive power of technology than the transportation industry. The ongoing evolution in areas like machine learning, artificial intelligence, and immersive technologies have led the innovations in multiple aspects of transportation.

As you will find out, digitalization is changing nearly every aspect of the transportation industry. More businesses, industries, and groups are learning how to harness the outsized potential of technology. The race to innovate is on high gear as stakeholders tap into technology to solve the challenges that have long plagued the transportation industry.

In this section, we’ve collected all the statistics related to immersive technology, the Internet of Things (IoT), robotics and automation, artificial intelligence, blockchain technology, UAVs & drones, and autonomous logistics.

  • The number of Google searches related to travel and logistics grew from 8% in 2014 to 14% in 2017. (McKinsey, 2018)
  • Also, mobile search accounted for 43% of the total online searches related to travel and logistics. (McKinsey, 2018)
  • Moreover, the distribution of mobile searches amongst the logistics sectors in 2017 was as follows. Trucking (32%), freight forwarding (25%), ocean cargo (16%), rail cargo (37%),  and air cargo (19%). (McKinsey, 2018)
  • Surprisingly, only 6% of the largest freight forwarders and ocean carriers offer end-to-end online booking capabilities. (McKinsey, 2018)
  • Interestingly, an analysis of large ocean carriers’ websites revealed that more than 50% took 13 seconds to load, whereas 20% took more than 20 seconds to load. (McKinsey, 2018)
  • If freight and logistics businesses harness the power of digital technologies that can boost earnings before interest and taxes by up to 13%. (Accenture, 2016)
  • 50% of logistics service providers use cloud-based services, and a further 20% plan to do so in the coming years. (DHL, 2019)

transportation industry statistics 2

Internet of Things (IoT)

  • By 2020, the IoT in the logistics market will reach $1,050.95 billion. (MarketWatch, 2018)
  • The connected logistics market alone is expected to reach more than $41 billion by 2022. (MarketWatch, 2018)
  • Besides, the IoT professional services are expected to increase at a CAGR of 22.6% to reach $158.28 billion by 2021. (DigitalJournal, 2018)
  • According to ABI Research, Freight as a Service (FaaS) will account for nearly 30% of US total good transportation revenue. (ABIResearch, 2017)
  • Moreover, IoT and block facilitate a closed-loop that makes counterfeiting attempts in the pharmaceutical industry difficult to accomplish. Going by the World Health Organization Statistics, these innovations can help prevent an estimated $100 billion of products from being counterfeited online. (Deloitte, 2018)
  • Interestingly, 69% of companies say the cost reduction is the major driver of moving IoT initiatives forward. (Accenture, 2017)

Augmented Reality

  • Interestingly, AR has the potential to reduce logistics costs by improving the picking process, which accounts for 55% to 65% of the total warehousing operational costs. (DHL, 2014)
  • According to DHL, drivers spend up to 60% of their time away from the distribution center, not driving. With the use of AR at the distribution center, the search process could be significantly accelerated, and so is parcel loading and dropoff. (DHL)
  • Also, augmented reality also has a hand in logistics planning, process fulfilling, and transportation. For example, First vision picking execution by DHL, combined with customer Ricoh increased performance by 25% when using smart glasses in logistics. (DHL, 2019)
  • Better still, the Augmented Reality market is estimated to reach $15 billion by 2020. (DHL, 2016)

transportation industry statistics 3

Advanced Robotics and Automation

  • Also, to note, 40% of the mileage driven in Europe could be covered by autonomous vehicles in 2030. (PWC,2018)
  • The global sales of warehousing and logistics robots will reach $30.8 billion by 2022. Besides, the robot unit shipment will reach 938,000 annually by 2022. (Tractica, 2019)
  • Besides, in 2017, logistics robots had a 162% increase over 2016. That year, 69,000 units were installed. (, 2018)
  • Most importantly, according to the International Federation of Robotics, between 2019 and 2021, approximately 485,000 units will be sold. (, 2018)
  • In 2018, Cainiao; which is 51% owned by Alibaba, opened an automated warehouse with 700 robots working in it. This facility is China’s largest automated warehouse. (CNBC, 2018)
  • Moreover, in 2018, Amazon introduced a pair of new robots at its sortation center in Denver, Colorado. After just 6 months of launch, the robots had traveled over 1.5 million miles. (Amazon, 2018)
  • Overall, Amazon has deployed more than 100,000 robots in over 25 fulfillment centers across the United States. (Amazon, 2018)
  • Robotic Process Automation can increase automation level to nearly 100% in customer invoicing and transport planning.  (Accenture, 2016)
  • Most importantly, the global Robotic Process Automation (RPA) market will reach $1.2 billion by 2021. (PWC, 2019)

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

  • ZenRobotics has a logistics robot known as the Fast Picker. The robot leverages advanced AIpowered algorithms to sort recyclable items on the conveyor belt at the rate of 4,000 times per hour. (ZenRobotics, 2018)
  • Also, by using “H”; an AI version of Kaizen, Hitachi increased productivity by 8% compared to other warehouses without AI. (DHL, 2016)
  • Interestingly, only 10% of current data, systems, and interactions in Logistics include an element of AI analysis and results. (IBM, 2018)
  • Besides, using AI to predict failures and defects has enabled General Electrical (GE) to reduce unplanned downtime on the store floor by up to 20%. (IBM, 2018)

Blockchain Technology

  • The Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA), which was founded in 2017, has nearly 500 members in more than 25 countries in the world. (BiTA, 2019)
  • To date, BiTA members account for approximately 85% of all truck-related transactions in the United States. (Winnesota, 2018)
  • Besides, Maersk and IBM, believe blockchain technology can remove the overreliance on paper transactions, which accounts for over 20% of the total cost of transportation. (DCVelocity, 2018)
  • In 2018, SkyCell; a reputable Swiss Tech Firm, created blockchain and IoT-enabled refrigerated containers that brought temperature deviations rate down to less than 0.1%. (, 2018)
  • With blockchain, the supply chain for used trucks and trucks part can easily be tracked on a digital ledger as a type of “CARFAX on steroids” for the Transport and logistics industry. (Winnesota, 2018)

Autonomous Logistics

  • Interestingly, the American Trucking Associations estimates that by 2026 driver shortage will be 174, 000. (McKinsey, 2018)
  • Further, digitization and autonomation of delivery vehicles can reduce logistics costs for standard transport by 47% by 2030. (PWC, 2018)
  • Besides, by harnessing autonomous technology, the freight industry could save up to $168 billion per year. (Morgan Stanley)
  • Interestingly, the annual sale of the autonomous trucks is estimated to reach 600,000 unites per year by 2035. (IHS Automotive, 2016)
  • Also, by 2025, more than 30% of new heavy trucks will feature a high-level automation technology. (, 2017)
  • The global autonomous vehicle market will experience a 10 times growth between 2019 and 2026, to reach $556.67 billion. (Allied Market Research, 2019)

transportation industry statistics 4

UAVs and Drones

  • Interestingly, the UAV drone market for commercial use is projected to grow exponentially to reach $1.2 billion by 2020. (Marsh)
  • Also, the US commercial drone use will expand tenfold by 2021. (Reuters, 2017)
  • The global commercial drone market will reach $17 billion by 2024. (Global Market Insights, 2018)
  • Besides, 42% of logistics carriers in the world plan to use UAVs for the delivery of goods in the future. (Marsh)
  • PKP Cargo; a polish freight carrier, used security drones to protect goods in transit. The use of drones reduced the number of theft by 44% in the first half of 2015. (Marsh)
  • Moreover, the aerial surveying and mapping (37%) are most powerfully driving the adoption of UAVs. Aerial delivery is second at (25%), followed by aerial inspection of infrastructure (25%), and aerial surveillance and security (13%). (GPS World, 2018)
  • Amazon Prime Air delivers packages less than 5 pounds in 30 minutes or less using small drones. (Amazon, 2019)
  • Also, by 2026, the commercial drone will have an annual impact of up to $46 billion on the US GDP. (McKinsey, 2017)
  • Besides, approximately 25% of US  consumers are will to pay higher for the privilege of instant or same-day delivery. (McKinsey, 2017)
  • The drone logistics and transportation market is expected to grow from $11.2 billion in 2022 to $29.6 billion in 2027. (DHL: The Future of Logistics takes Flight, 2019

Factors Driving the Adoption of UAVs

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Source: GPS World, 2018

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In the digitized, customer-centric society, the transport and logistics industry is under enormous pressure to deliver excellent customer services. To remain competitive, businesses should formulate innovative ways to optimize operations and augment the supply chain.

Fortunately, the modern breakthroughs in technologies like machine learning, AI, autonomous trucking, AR, AUVs, and drones, point to a bright future. However, Implementing technological automation and inventions is only gaining ground at a slow pace. To expedite the adoption, businesses need to come up with strategic and adaptive frameworks.

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  3. GPSWOX, winner of our Expert’s Choice award, is an industry-leading GPS tracking and fleet management application. We talk about its key features in our GPSWOX review.
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  5. Fleetsmith is a comprehensive mobile device management (MDM) system designed to automate tasks and processes for iOS and Mac devices. We walk you through what it can do in our Fleetsmith review.

5. Transportation Industry Environmental Issues Statistics

The transportation industry delivers substantial socio-economical benefits; there no doubt about that. But at the same time, the industry has a significant impact on the environmental system. Ships, locomotives, trucks, and aircraft, are the principal consumers of the world’s energy. As a result, they are well-known sources of air pollution in the form of particulate matter and gas emissions. Here are some transportation industry statistics related to environmental issues.

  • If used 30% of the time, e-roads can save up to 6 million tons of carbon dioxide and reduce energy consumption in half, compared with the traditional roads. (DHL, 2019)
  • On average, the EU transport industry emits 24.3% of greenhouse gas emissions. (Total Logistics, 2019)
  • Besides, the road sector accounts for up to 72% of the total emissions by the EU transport industry.  (Total Logistics, 2019)
  • Interestingly, despite being the catchwords, buses and trucks emit 25% of carbon dioxide emissions from road transport.  (Total Logistics, 2019)
  • Direct emissions from aviation make up only 3% of the EU greenhouse gas emissions.  (Total Logistics, 2019)
  • The global international emissions will be 70% higher by 2020 than they were in 2005.  (Total Logistics, 2019)
  •  Shipping accounts for nearly 2.1% of global carbon dioxide emissions.  (Total Logistics, 2019)

transportation industry statistics 5

What do these statistics mean to your business?

Our statistics compilation has taken you through some of the key areas of the transportation industry. As you may have seen, the key sectors of the transportation industry are on an upward trend, although challenges are in plenty. From logistics to freight, every sector is facing its unique set of obstacles, that threatens to derail progress. However, statistics clearly show that industry players have learned how to overcome these hurdles, hence the growth we’ve seen.

Moreover, there is a wave of digital disruptions penetrating the transportation industry. From autonomous driving, advanced robotics, and blockchain technologies to AI, immersive technologies, and machine learning, the technologies are opening infinite possibilities for the transportation industry.

As a stakeholder in this industry, you need to cherrypick the most beneficial innovation and implement them to enhance service delivery. Embracing the digital transformation will unlock incredible value generation opportunities and help you stand out in the already crowded marketplace. You can have a look at our list of fleet management companies in the US to explore the solutions they provide.

Nestor Gilbert

By Nestor Gilbert

Senior writer for FinancesOnline. If he is not writing about the booming SaaS and B2B industry, with special focus on developments in CRM and business intelligence software spaces, he is editing manuscripts for aspiring and veteran authors. He has compiled years of experience editing book titles and writing for popular marketing and technical publications.

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