ACT Research: Amid Supply-Chain Constraints, Freight Demand Strength Overlooked

In the release of its Commercial Vehicle Dealer Digest, ACT Research reported that as supply-chain constraints continue to dominate the conversation, broad-based economic and freight market strength is often overlooked.

The report, which combines ACT’s proprietary data analysis from a wide variety of industry sources, paints a comprehensive picture of trends impacting transportation and commercial vehicle markets. This monthly report includes a relevant but high-level forecast summary, complete with transportation insights for use by commercial vehicle dealer executives, reviewing top-level considerations such as for-hire indices, freight, heavy and medium duty segments, the total US trailer market, used truck sales information, and a review of the US macro economy.

“In addition to long lead-time manufacturing demand, US consumers’ economic footprint has never been bigger.”  - Kenny ViethKenny Vieth, ACT’s President and Senior Analyst, noted, “In addition to long lead-time manufacturing demand, US consumers’ economic footprint has never been bigger.” He elaborated, “Incomes are growing at above-trend rates, and thanks to low interest rates, consumer debt service levels are 100bps below Q4’19 levels, which in turn were historically low. Additionally, since the beginning of 2020, household net worth is up 23%, while millennial demographics [21 to 39] are in a sweet-spot for family creation, home building and goods consumption.” When asked how COVID variants are impacting the equation, Vieth said, “Spikes in COVID case counts are likely to extend consumer spending substitution toward goods and away from services.”

About how the substitution toward goods is effecting the transportation industry, he commented, “The combination of healthy consumer/corporate balance sheets and pent-up inventory demand translates into continued robust freight markets and still-rising freight rates. At the end of 2021, strong and rising spot market freight rates, nominally and relative to contract rates, reported by DAT suggest that truckers will maintain the upper hand in rate negotiations with shippers at least through the first half of 2022.” Vieth concluded, “That leverage promises to further elevate carrier profitability and we reiterate that carrier profits are arguably the key indicator for fluctuations in new vehicle demand.”

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 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: 2020-2024 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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