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ATA Report Predicts Growth for Trucking Industry

by Anna Mischke | Jul 27, 2017

Customer News 072617According to the American Trucking Associations (ATA), trucking and freight industries will experience growth over the next decade and remain the dominant freight mode. The latest forecast released July 9th, projects freight volumes to grow 2.8% by the end of 2017 with 3.4% annual growth through 2023. They anticipate that by 2028, 20.73 billion tons will be moved by all modes.

The ATA and IHS Global Insight worked together to create the report which covers all modes of transportation. ATA Chief Economist, Bob Costello explains this is important because trucking can often play a secondary transportation role to other primary modes.

ATA President and CEO, Chris Spear stated “As we look ahead at the rest of the 21st Century, the projections found in Freight Transportation Forecast are invaluable to decision makers in the board room and the hearing room alike,” and “Having good, accurate data is critical to making sure businesses are making appropriate investments in their companies and that our government is making the proper investments in our nation’s infrastructure.”

The report says, “Over the forecast period, capacity shortfalls will develop…We are starting to see some selected tightness in freight handling capacity, enough to suggest that capacity expansion will be required if the modes are going to be able to handle anticipated growth.”

Costello said, “As the U.S. population grows and the economy increases with it, we will see continued gains in demand for freight transportation…While overall truck volumes will continue to rise, and trucking will remain the dominant freight mode – its share of freight tonnage will dip to 67.2% by 2028, with pipelines picking up most of the additional market share, and, to a lesser extent, rail intermodal.”

The report also expects that trucking’s role will shift from being primarily long-haul to a shorter-haul model, due to online retail sales and an increase in distribution centers opening around the country. Costello stated, "There is still going to be long haul out there, but trucking's real sweet spot, and why trucks and trains really do compete on a limited basis is because most truck freight doesn't go much over 500 miles." The average length of haul for dry van freight has decreased from 800 to 530 miles in the past seventeen years.

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