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                     Introduction to the Trucking Industry

We see trucks on the freeway everyday, but discount their importance to our way of life. Here is an overview of the history of the trucking industry and its importance.

The word truck comes from the Greek word "trochos" which means wheel. This is interesting because it reflects the idea that the earliest use of the invention that was to alter the world was the transportation of goods. It was always possible for humans to transport themselves rather easily by jumping on the back of a horse, but it was not possible to pack everything they owned on the animal's back. It was carts and wagons that were the first wheeled vehicles.

This is the purpose of the modern trucking industry. It moves material goods from one place to another. In the United States, goods have been moved long distances over a variety of highways. The first highways were the rivers, and barges and steamboats were the carriers. Next came the railroads and goods were moved over the iron rails that eventually ran from coast to coast. Wagons and carts continued to doing the hauling, and the first freight companies took on the task of transporting the goods from the river ports and railheads and distributing them to the surrounding areas.

The invention of the combustion engine was the revolutionary development that brought the truck to the forefront. Highways of asphalt began to connect every part of the country, and development no longer depended on the rivers and railroads. Today it is estimated that 81% of the value of the nation's freight moves by truck, and over 60% of its tonnage. This fact is evident to any traveler who is used to seeing the endless procession of tractor trailer haulers moving day and night over the Interstate highways, or lined up in rest areas and truck stops.

The importance of the trucking industry to the nation's economy is best illustrated by the amount of government regulation that it endures. The thought of a trucking strike has haunted the nation's leaders for many years. Trucks are truly the lifeline of the nation moving the food, fuel, and goods that are necessary to keep our world operating. There are large trucking companies with thousands of individual trucks, and small companies with only a hand full. There are independent haulers with only a single truck sometimes driven by a husband and wife team. They haul every thing that you could possibly imagine, and our world could not long survive without them. It has been a long way from that first two wheeled cart pulled by an ox to the eighteen wheel diesel driven giants that ply our highways today.

Carl Stinson is with - a directory of trucking companies.
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Introduction to the Trucking Industry

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