ACT Research: For-Hire Trucking Index Signals Bottoming Process in Freight Rates

ACT For-Hire Trucking Index: VolumesThe latest release of ACT’s For-Hire Trucking Index, showed the Supply-Demand Balance increased as volumes ticked up, and freight rates continue to decline.

The ACT For-Hire Trucking Index is a monthly survey of for-hire trucking service providers. ACT Research converts responses into diffusion indexes, where the neutral or flat activity level is 50. Please contact us at trucks@actresearch.net if you are a for-hire executive interested in participating. In return, participants receive a detailed monthly analysis of the survey data, including Volumes, Freight Rates, Driver Availability, Capacity, Productivity and Purchasing Intentions, plus a complimentary copy of ACT’s Transportation Digest report.

ACT For-Hire Trucking Index: Freight RatesConcerning volume, Tim Denoyer, Vice President & Senior Analyst at ACT Research, commented, “The volume environment remains soft as the holiday shopping crescendo continues, but goods demand is soft and retail inventories are overstocked.”

On capacity and rates, he noted, “The seeds of the next tighter environment are being sown as rising costs and falling spot rates threaten the viability of the significant small fleet capacity which has recently entered the industry. And for the mostly larger fleets in our survey, capacity growth has slowed for three straight months.

ACT For-Hire Trucking Survey: Supply-Demand BalanceBy our estimates, spot rates are further below costs than ever before, which could shorten the bottoming process. We also polled our fleet friends on contract terms and found some shippers pressing for more shorter-term contracts.”

Regarding the supply-demand balance, Denoyer said, “The reading reflects a loose trucking market and a late stage in the freight cycle. We believe the bottoming process has begun, and it’s possible that supply factors – including tight diesel inventories – could shorten the downturn.”

The ACT Freight Forecast provides forecasts for spot truckload rates by trailer type for four to six quarters and truck volumes and contract rates for three years for the truckload, less-than-truckload and intermodal segments of the transportation industry. In 2019, the average accuracy of the report’s truckload spot rate forecasts was 98%. The ACT Research Freight Forecast uses equipment capacity modeling and the firm’s economics expertise to provide unprecedented visibility for the future of freight rates, helping businesses in transportation and logistics management plan for the future with confidence.

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.

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