The latest release of ACT’s For-Hire Trucking Index, with September data, showed an increase in volumes, pricing, and capacity, with a lower but still-strong supply-demand balance.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Tim Denoyer, Vice President and Senior Analyst at ACT Research, commented, “Although it increased in September, the Volume Index is still considerably below the 65.5 average of the past 12 months, due in large part to supply bottlenecks. In particular, chip and part shortages are hindering vehicle production, though peak holiday shipping is continuing to provide demand support.”
He added, “Trucking markets remain very tight, with the newly proposed vaccine mandate likely disrupting the recovery in driver hiring in the near-term and new equipment production still challenged, so the recipe is still right for record rate increases. However, the driver response to higher pay rates is ongoing, and we ultimately expect little impact of employer vaccine mandates in trucking, where about 80% of capacity is in fleets under 100 employees. Equipment supply-chain constraints also continue to limit capacity growth, and hiring and retention of new drivers will be key to the rate trajectory.”
Regarding the supply-demand balance, Denoyer noted, “While down from this year’s peak of 69.2 in April, the current reading still reflects a tight supply-demand environment. Class 8 retail sales are constrained by tight inventories and unmet production demand due to parts shortages, slowing the recovery in equipment capacity. With some structural driver issues likely to outlast the pandemic and a generally positive freight outlook, we do not expect the market to loosen quickly.”
The ACT Freight Forecast provides forecasts for the direction of truck volumes and contract rates quarterly through 2020 with three years of annual forecasts for the truckload, less-than-truckload and intermodal segments of the transportation industry. For the truckload spot market, the report provides forecasts for the next twelve months. 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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