How many trucking companies are in the US [2024 Data]

The trucking industry is the backbone of America’s supply chain. Almost every single commodity our economy relies on is transported to us by truck, at some point in its journey. 

Estimates predict that if trucks stopped driving, the shelves in our grocery stores would be empty after just 3 days. There would also be shortages of medical supplies, ATMs would have no cash, and garbage would line the streets. But this industry we’re so dependent on isn’t immune to global market risk. It suffered during the Covid pandemic, and there’s much potential for change in the near future.

To give an idea of the state of the trucking industry today, we’ve put together some key statistics – like how many trucking companies and truck drivers there are in the US, who the biggest companies are, and how much freight they move around the country. 

Then we’ll take a look at the broader picture, analyzing the outlook for the future and some of the crucial economic challenges that lay ahead for trucking companies.

how many trucking companies in the US

Total registered trucking companies in the US [Latest figures]

According to the US Department of Transportation, as of June 2022, there were 19,74,584 registered trucking companies in the US.

Breaking down the numbers:

  • 1,102,799 (55%) or more than half of those are for-hire trucking carriers
  • 718.594 (36%) are listed as private carriers
  • 153,191 (~7%) are registered as both for-hire and private carriers

95.7% of these companies operate 10 or fewer trucks. But the trucking industry is dominated by a few big players. We’ll go into detail on those companies further down.

How much freight is moved by trucks in the US?

According to data from the US Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), 17.47 billion tons of freight were moved across the US domestically in 2022. Trucks moved 11.92 billion of those tons, an enormous 68.2%. That’s about 32 million tons per day. Trucks also helped to export 507 million tons of goods internationally.

The second biggest carrier of freight was the rail industry, although with a mere 1.05 billion tons moved, it lags far behind. And the third most preferred method in 2022 was water, with 634 million tons moved domestically.

BTS predicts that between now and 2050, tonnage will continue to rise by around 1.4% annually.

How many truck drivers are there in the US?

In 2021 the US Census said there were roughly 3.5 million employed truck drivers in the US. By some estimates, that makes it the second most popular job in the country after construction worker. 

While this is a huge percentage of the American workforce, demand for workers is still high and it looks set to stay that way. Thanks to the continued growth of e-commerce, the American Trucking Association (ATA) predicts that the industry will need around 1.1 million new drivers in the next few years to keep labor shortages at a minimum.

It’s an industry that is dominated by men – only 14% of truck drivers in the US are female. 

The most represented age group is 45-54 years old, at 26%. Groups 35-44 and 55-64 aren’t far behind, each making up 21% of drivers.

What percentage of truckers are owner-operators

According to the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, around 10% of all truckers in the US are owner-operators – there are around 350,000 in total. It’s reported that, on average, they earn $50,000 per year.

Owner-operator truck drivers own their own equipment rather than working for a large company. They have a couple of options when it comes to working. Either they can lease their trucks out to a larger company, or they work as fully independent truckers. In the latter case, owner-operators need to find their own freight to carry and must run every aspect of the business, from driving to accounting.

How many trucks are there in the US?

As per 2022 data, there were 41 million commercial trucks (engaged in business) registered in the US, making up 13% of all the registered vehicles in America. For reference in 2022, there were  294 million registered personal and commercial vehicles in the US and of those 155 million were trucks – Pickups, Vans, SUVs, Farm trucks, Truck tractors and Other medium/heavy trucks.  Commercial trucks represent 24.1% of all the trucks registered in the US. 

In 2021 there were 4.06 million semi-trailer trucks in operation. Also known as 18-wheelers or big rigs, these are the largest trucks on the road and require a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate. 

Which are the largest trucking companies in the US?

By revenue, the largest trucking company in the US, and the whole of North America, is UPS (United Parcel Service). With its fleet of distinctive brown vehicles, UPS dominates the trucking industry in the US. 

In 2022 the company generated $100.338 billion in revenue, and globally it delivered 6.2 billion packages for the year, which equates to 24.3 million packages per day. It operates in more than 220 countries and territories and employs 440,000 staff. 362,000 of those staff are in the US.

The second largest trucking company in the US is FedEx. In 2022 FedEx made $93.5 billion in revenue, an 11.4% increase in 2021.

And the third largest is J.B. Hunt Transport Service. With its headquarters in Lowell, Arkansas, J.B. Hunt generated $14.8 billion in revenue last year, a 21% increase on the previous year.

Which trucking company has the most trucks

But which US trucking company has the most trucks? You guessed it. UPS

UPS has a fleet of more than 22,000 trailers and 6,700 tractors that move between over 200 facilities across the country.

The economic impact of the trucking industry

In 2021 the trucking industry accounted for over 80% of America’s freight bill – $875.5 billion in gross revenue. It’s by far the most significant part of the nation’s transport and logistics industry.

It’s estimated that in 2020 commercial trucks paid $18.3 billion in federal highway-user taxes and $30.1 billion in state highway-user taxes. That’s a total of $48.46 billion.

Trucking also creates millions of jobs. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1.564 million people were employed in the Truck Transportation sub-sector in April 2022. And it’s estimated that around 8 million people are in jobs which are related to trucking. That’s not including the self-employed either.

Outlook for the industry: predicted growth and future challenges

Like every part of the economy, the trucking industry was impacted – both positively and negatively – during the Covid pandemic. 

2020 saw a noticeable decrease in the amount of freight shifted across the country, as 10.23 billion tons were moved – down from 11.84 billion tons in 2019. But those numbers have recovered, as 11.92 billion tons were covered in 2022.

Changing consumer habits and warehouses shutting down created unpredictable and fluctuating demand for drivers. But overall, demand for drivers increased, and it continues to do so into 2023.

The outlook for the future of the trucking industry is undeniably positive, and plenty of growth is forecast. But the industry is also facing a number of challenges it will need to overcome.

Labor shortages

Demand for drivers is increasing, and the industry is struggling to keep up. There was an estimated shortage of 78,000 truck drivers in 2022. And the ATA estimates that the deficit could rise to 160,000 by 2030 if action isn’t taken.

There’s no single reason for this shortage, but rather a combination of many factors:

  • An aging workforce – the higher average age of truck drivers means more are retiring without being replaced quickly enough.
  • The low representation of women in the industry.
  • With the legalization of marijuana in many states, some potential and current drivers are failing to pass mandatory drugs tests.
  • The lifestyle is not always appealing – it involves long-haul journeys and many days away from home.
  • To operate commercial vehicles between states drivers must have a minimum age of 21, which creates a significant barrier in the recruiting process.

Truck driver wages have risen over recent years. Data from the Department of Labor has shown that earnings are up to five times higher compared to the historical average. But trucking companies will need to keep offering these competitive wages to retain and attract new drivers. This, along with improvements to working conditions and better infrastructure like more parking spots for trucks, will be the solution to the growing labor shortage.

New speed limits for commercial trucks

In June 2023, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is going to announce a new proposal for commercial vehicle speed limits. 

The proposal will suggest that some trucks with a gross weight of over 26,000 lbs will require to have their speed capped at 65 mph. Speed-limiting devices will need to be installed to enforce this.

This new law would add new complexity to logistics planning for companies, particularly as journey times may be affected. There will also be costs associated with installing the new technology.

Automation and artificial intelligence

Another possible solution to the driver shortage is automation. In any case, this is a trend the industry will need to face in the coming years. Kodiak Robotics and Tesla already have made strides in self-driving truck tech, and as per a study, 90% of long-haul trucking could be self-driving.

Artificial intelligence has the potential to significantly improve operational efficiency, reduce costs and help to increase shipping volumes. While the long-term gains could be huge, the short-term costs are high. And if AI is employed incorrectly, it could lead to widespread job losses and negative economic impact.


The trucking industry is a vital part of the American economy. Trucks transport almost every commodity we need across the country, and the industry creates millions of jobs.

The outlook for the future is positive. Continued growth is projected, but the industry must remain highly adaptable to change in order to overcome the challenges it will face.

Jason L Arthur

Jason L Arthur

Jason Arthur is a data junkie, writer, veteran amateur racecar driver and motorsport photographer. He is the co-founder of LookupaPlate, a collaborative platform to report bad drivers plying on American roads. He is also building a blockchain-based vehicle data marketplace (in stealth mode) and is an adviser to several startups. Jason has been tracking the automotive industry since the 1990s and has a disturbingly deep obsession with the automotive world, and loves to explore whatever roads he can find. From high-speed racing on the circuit to off-road exploration, Jason has an insatiable appetite for adventure. Jason has written for numerous publications, including Autocar Magazine, Motorsport Magazine, and Road & Track.

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