As industry after industry was deregulated in the late 1970s and 1980s, the promise was of more competition, more innovation and more consumer choice. But as the Demos series of reports on deregulation documents, often the most significant impact is on the quality and reliability of work. Often the cost savings are mainly in the form of reduced wages and employee benefits. And the innovations sometimes actually result in a less attractive or reliable product from the perspective of the consumer. The impact on the industry as a whole is characteristically greater instability. This is the case in industries as diverse as electricity, airlines, finance, and trucking.

Port trucking, the segment of the freight movement industry that carries 80 percent of shipping containers between ports and warehouses or distribution centers, is an essential cog in the global trade system, and as this report from David Bensman shows, suffers from excessive, destructive competition.