ACT Freight Forecast: Omicron Tightens Truckload Market, Sets Up Dynamic Outlook

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

The freight environment continues to feature strong demand and tight capacity conditions, with a choppy and gradual recovery." - Tim Denoyer, ACT ResearchTim Denoyer, ACT Research’s Vice President and Senior Analyst, said, “The freight environment continues to feature strong demand and tight capacity conditions, with a choppy and gradual recovery. Omicron is leading to an increase in absenteeism, impacting both transportation and manufacturing in early-2022 and will keep freight markets tighter for longer. Though fleets in our survey are saying absenteeism is a problem for most and some fleets reported a hit to recruiting, other fleets are still seeing growth in recruiting classes.”

Denoyer added, “So, the slowdown in hiring reported by BLS in December could persist near-term, but fortunately, Omicron is likely to be short-lived, and we expect the recovery in driver capacity to re-engage fairly soon. Progress de-bottlenecking automotive supply chains will likely be set back temporarily by Omicron, so the everything shortage will be with us for some time. With labor constraints recovering more slowly than normal, bank account balances high and inventories low, the setup for 2022 remains tight in the near-term.”

Freight PR 1-12-22

He concluded, “The silver lining of Omicron is that it may broadly reduce pandemic risks, which would help services recover. Considerable progress has been made against capacity constraints over the past year, and federal stimulus to consumers is over, so we expect industry trends to change in 2022.”

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

ACT’s 66th Seminar is scheduled for February 22-24, 2022. Focused on the continuous evolution and advancement of autonomous and powertrain technologies in the transportation and commercial vehicle markets, OUTLOOK Seminar 66 will feature key industry leaders from Ford, Transplace, TuSimple, and the EPA, with more being added to the agenda. February’s event features three panels (US Economics, Trucker & Transportation, and Autonomous Ecosystem), as well as a fireside chat with the EPA, discussions about fleet decarbonization, electric vehicle forecasts, and reviews of freight/transportation, Class 8, Classes 5-7, the US used truck and new US trailer markets. For information about OUTLOOK Seminar 66, click here

ACT’s commercial electric vehicle study, Charging Forward: 2020-2040 BEV & FCEV Forecast & Analysis, was published on March 31, 2021, after months of extensive research. Utilizing industry expertise and analysis, as well as the input from a comprehensive list of key industry study participants, ACT Research has developed a critical guide for battery electric and fuel cell electric unit build and sales forecasts over the next two decades. With coverage of Classes 4-8 commercial vehicles, ACT has identified 14 market subsegments and more than 20 application types; this one-of-a-kind report is a must-have for those investing or investigating electric power opportunities. To learn more or to purchase this report, click here

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