ATA’s “Freight Transportation Forecast” provides positive overview for trucking’s future

While it is well know that 2018 was a banner year for the trucking sector, it bears repeating. And one reason for that is that even though 2019 is down volume-wise compared to a year ago, there are still many reasons for optimism, when it comes to gauging the overall health of the market.

 

While it is well know that 2018 was a banner year for the trucking sector, it bears repeating. And one reason for that is that even though 2019 is down volume-wise compared to a year ago, there are still many reasons for optimism, when it comes to gauging the overall health of the market.

Yes, even though conditions for carriers are not at the same elevated levels as last year, in the form of very tight capacity and pricing power, they are not terrible by any stretch either, while things like the driver shortage remain intact and the state of regulations is mostly calm.

But back to the optimism part. Last week, the American Trucking Associations (ATA) issued its “ATA Freight Transportation Forecast: 2019 to 2030,” which it describes as an annual projection of the state of the freight economy.

And the big-ticket takeaway statistics featured in this motor freight report tell a story of ongoing strength and growth for years to come, including:

 

  • overall freight tonnage will grow to 20.6 billion tons in 2030, up 25.6% from 2019’s projection of 16.4 billion tons;
  • freight industry revenues will increase 53.8% to $1.601 trillion over the next decade;
  • trucking’s share of total freight tonnage will dip to 68.8% in 2030 from 71.1% this year, even as tonnage grows to 14.2 billion tons in 2030 from 11.7 billion tons;
  • trucking and total rail transportation will lose relative market share, even as revenues and tonnage grows, while intermodal rail, air and domestic waterborne transportation will show modest growth and pipeline transportation will experience explosive growth – surging 17.1% in tonnage and 8.6% in revenue over the next decade

ATA Chief Executive Bob Costello put these statistics into proper perspective.

“America’s trucking industry, and the overall freight transportation industry, are poised to experience strong growth over the next decade as the country’s economy and population grow,” he said.  “Our annual Freight Forecast is a valuable look at where we are headed so leaders in business and government can make important decisions about investments and policy.”

And ATA President and CEO Chris Spear explained that the ATA’s Freight Forecast report definitively explains why meeting challenges like infrastructure and workforce development are key components to the long-term success of trucking, adding that “it belongs on the desk of every decision maker in our industry and in the supply chain.”

If that is not a strong pitch to grab a copy of this report, then what is?

As mentioned in this space about a year ago when covering this annual report, it is worth noting that while the supply chain can appear to be heavily fragmented at times, given its multiple transportation modes, regulations, emerging technologies and trends (think digital brokerage and last mile), many links of the chain often begin and end with a truck. That is something that cannot be overlooked, and the data presented in this report make that very clear.

 

By Jeff Berman · August 26, 2019

Originally published on Logistics Management