As Amazon standardizes same-day delivery, truckload length-of-haul will shrink "dramatically" in the transition to a delivery model.

"I think that's why excess capacity has remained [in the current market], because the industry is already losing so many traditional truckload shipments,” Albrecht said. “And you're looking at a different driver profile, too: The person who's driven over-the-road, even if it's been in a dedicated operation, do they want to do five stops and only cover 120 miles? There's a lot of interesting questions.”

One of which, apparently, is can the company be a trusted partner?

Just last month Central Freight Lines sued Amazon Fulfillment Services in California federal court. The carrier claims Amazon owes more than $2.9 million in outstanding shipping fees, and has bullied Central Freight and other trucking companies into unfair contract terms.

"This is what Amazon does: They look like the pretty girl at the dance,” Albrecht said. “Trucking companies talk about the first year they partner with them and it's fantastic, but after that it's just a series of frustrations."

Albrecht suggested that many truckload carriers are like "deer in the headlights," waiting for an upturn in the cycle "to bail them out"—but loads lost to e-commerce aren't coming back.

"They're going to miss market if they don't wake up," he said.

And just what is what's left of the long-haul market going to look like?

Transplace CEO Tom Sanderson suggested that the "in-bound" link in the supply chain—from the manufacturer to distribution centers—would remain. The result, added Albrecht, will be to free some dedicated capacity. For fleets willing to risk "the volatility" of the one-way OTR market, "it's probably not a bad place to be," he said. "But most fleets don't want to do that because they're looking for steady freight to satisfy their drivers—and that's a different challenge—but it's an opportunity for fleets that can stomach it."

On the LTL side, however, Albrecht has recently surveyed the largest carriers and reported that 7 of the 20 largest were already "embracing" e-commerce: They've ordered specialized equipment, including pup trailers that are only 12 feet tall to better serve neighborhoods with low power lines or over-hanging limbs, along with adding Sprinter-style delivery vans.

There is also a growing number of final-mile independent contractors that specialize in over-sized items that are "not friendly" to FedEx or UPS, he noted.

​In the nearer term, commercial fleets will begin to add "a lot more" medium-duty equipment, with fewer traditional tractor-trailer combinations. Both Utitlity Trailer and Wabash recently decided to enter in the truck-body market, he noted.