2019 Market Outlook: A Possible Economic Downturn & Driverless Trucks


You’ve probably heard about driverless cars, but how about trucks with a computer behind the wheel? 

The U.S. Department of Transportation recently announced that it will no longer assume that the driver of a commercial truck is human, which signals that the Trump administration could be more willing to let tractor-trailers become driverless. 

That is just one of dozens of topics that came up at Thursday’s Bender Commercial 2019 Market Outlook. 

A refrigerated warehouse–it may seem like an unusual business in Sioux Falls, but you can expect to see more companies like Win Chill in the future. Why? 

“That Amazon effect–the same day delivery, next day delivery of product. People don’t think about how the product gets from a warehouse in Minneapolis to Sioux Falls in the same day. People don’t think about the logistical side of that,” Bender Commercial Principal Rob Fagnan said.

Fagnan believes you’ll start to see those logistics with more buildings. A 100,000 square foot warehouse is currently going up at 60th Street and Cliff Avenue.

“There’s an opportunity here in Sioux Falls for people to capture the traffic that’s coming across on I-90 or I-29,” Fagnan said.

At Thursday’s Market Outlook officials with Bender also talked about the vacancy of buildings and the economy as a whole. 

“Everybody would recognize we’re late cycle. It’s really just how late we are in the cycle of this economic expansion. We’ve seen ten years of economic expansion,” Michael Bender with Bender Commercial said. 

Bender believes 2019 will still be a strong year for Sioux Falls, but it’s hard to know after that.

“I don’t think we’re falling off a cliff by any stretch, but we are towards the end of that economic cycle. That’s why I encourage everyone to be savvy risk managers,” Bender said.

Still, with more people shopping online and wanting their packages within 24 hours, Fagnan predicts the future is bright for warehouses. The main struggle is finding enough truck drivers. 

“We’re nationally 50,000 drivers short,” Fagnan said.

That’s why Fagnan believes driverless trucks are in our future. 

“There are a lot of discussions on the national level. There’s been a lot of testing of these driverless trucks. The mayor has talked about bringing 5G into Sioux Falls, us being one of the key communities. Well 5G is going to help launch autonomous vehicles,”  Fagnan said.

A change in vehicles and building uses thanks to technology.

You can watch the entire Market Outlook presentation here.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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