Online retail is nothing new. Customers have been making purchases from eBay and Amazon for decades now, and those items are delivered via UPS, FedEx, or the regular postal service. However, with online retail sites offering almost anything under the sun, trucking fleets are looking to branch out to home delivery services.

Home Delivery For Larger Items

With the advent of new services like Wayfair, online sales spiked last year, including the area of retail and appliances. These larger items do not fit easily on the usual carrier trucks, and often require special handling and installation. Additionally, large parcels cannot be handled easily by the sorting facilities at UPS and FedEx facilities. Recently, Ryder started tapping into the market for home delivery for larger items. This move has caused other fleets to start offering their services for home delivery.

The Challenges Of “Last Mile” Trucking

Tapping into the home delivery market is not without its challenges. After all, fleets have steered clear of the last mile for a number of reasons. First, taking large packages directly to private consumers is a costly venture. The amount of fuel used and wear and tear on vehicles to navigate residential areas are both high costs. Second, the number of employees pulled off of long hauls to make home deliveries may be working against the logistic struggles the trucking industry is just starting to overcome. As of the start of 2018, the trucking industry was still operating with fewer drivers than necessary. In this new economic upswing, the trucking industry is seeing a new influx of drivers to help meet the growing demand. Trying to branch out into “last mile” trucking may undo that progress. Third, truckers may also be required to unload bulkier items, bring them into people’s homes, and install them.

Rethinking The Trucking Model

Those fleets entering last mile delivery are investing in smaller vehicles and hiring drivers specifically for deliveries to people’s homes. But with the restrictions of the ELD mandate, there could be conflicts in a market where the customers expect items to arrive in days, not weeks. Currently, there are not many fleets venturing into last mile deliveries. This leaves the market open for carriers such as Ryder to claim the lion’s share.