ACT Freight Forecast: Freight Market Transitioning from Mid- to Late-Cycle

ACT Research released the latest installment of the ACT Freight Forecast, U.S. Rate and Volume OUTLOOK report.

"We think most of this decline is the reflection of the Omicron effects that tightened capacity a few months ago, combined with ongoing progress on the hiring front. A few points are also due to the inability of the spot market to pass through higher fuel prices, leading to an extraordinary hit to rates, ex-fuel." - Tim DenoyerTim Denoyer, ACT Research’s Vice President and Senior Analyst, said, “The roughly 15% drop in truckload spot rates, net fuel, since January has obviously been a big topic of discussion. We think most of this decline is the reflection of the Omicron effects that tightened capacity a few months ago, combined with ongoing progress on the hiring front. A few points are also due to the inability of the spot market to pass through higher fuel prices, leading to an extraordinary hit to rates, ex-fuel.”

Denoyer added, “The ACT For-Hire Driver Availability Index has returned to levels where freight rates turned down in late-2018 and 2019, as labor has recovered strongly from Omicron. We’re now in the late-cycle slower stage of the cycle, where ongoing slowing in freight volume and progress on capacity are ultimately deflationary for the rate cycle.”

ACT For-Hire Trucking Index: Driver Availability

He concluded, “However, overall freight volumes are still growing, with significant restocking demand remaining and long port backlogs persisting. And supply disruptions will continue, with the truck manufacturing cycle at heightened risk, which may result in tighter equipment capacity than currently expected, impacting market dynamics. Freight volumes have mainly weakened in the spot market, where load/truck ratios and load turndowns are falling sharply. While part of the transition to the late stage of the cycle, the broader market is not in freight recession yet.”

The monthly 56-page ACT Freight Forecast report provides forecasts through 2023 for volumes and contract rates for the truckload, less-than-truckload and intermodal sectors of the transportation industry, including the Cass Shipments Index and Cass Truckload Linehaul Index®. For the truckload spot market, the report forecasts rates through 2022. The Freight Forecast provides unmatched detail on the freight rate outlook, helping companies across the supply chain plan with greater visibility and less uncertainty.

ACT Research is recognized as the leading publisher of commercial vehicle truck, trailer, and bus industry data, market analysis and forecasts for the North America and China markets. ACT’s analytical services are used by all major North American truck and trailer manufacturers and their suppliers, as well as banking and investment companies. ACT Research is a contributor to the Blue Chip Economic Indicators and a member of the Wall Street Journal Economic Forecast Panel. ACT Research executives have received peer recognition, including election to the Board of Directors of the National Association for Business Economics, appointment as Consulting Economist to the National Private Truck Council, and the Lawrence R. Klein Award for Blue Chip Economic Indicators’ Most Accurate Economic Forecast over a four-year period. ACT Research senior staff members have earned accolades including Chicago Federal Reserve Automotive Outlook Symposium Best Overall Forecast, Wall Street Journal Top Economic Outlook, and USA Today Top 10 Economic Forecasters. More information can be found at www.actresearch.net.

ACT’s 67th Seminar is scheduled for August 23-25, 2022. The focus will be the potential impact of decarbonization and autonomous technology on commercial vehicles and on-highway transportation. Each event ACT shares its best-in-class data and forecast in presentations, as well as featuring guest speakers to dive into topics of interest for the benefit of attendees. The agenda includes key industry leaders, who will be announced at a later date. For more information about Seminar 67 Watts Under The Hood: Transportation Transformation, click here: https://www.actresearch.net/seminar-67/.

ACT Research recently completed POWER UP, a look at 7 global regions and more than 20 countries in a review of local regulations, infrastructure, and the impact on the adoption of battery and fuel cell electric commercial vehicles through 2040. This forecast is the first of its kind, a review of the decarbonization of commercial vehicles around the world. POWER UP is available now at https://www.actresearch.net/power-up/.

Additionally, ACT Research published an update to CHARGING FORWARD, a North American-centric battery and fuel cell electric vehicle adoption rate forecast, covering 23 vehicle applications, in Classes 4-8 commercial vehicles, through 2040. CHARGING FORWARD is considered by many industry leaders to be the apex of analysis and economic-based total cost of ownership modeling in the industry. And, it is now available for purchase at https://www.actresearch.net/electric-vehicles-charge/.

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