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2020 has been ‘roller coaster ride’ for motor carriers, says ACT Research

2020 has been ‘roller coaster ride’ for motor carriers, says ACT Research
According to Act Research’s latest Transportation Digest report, motor carriers, regardless of their size, have experienced a “roller coaster” of metrics during 2020.

COLUMBUS, Ind. — Motor carriers across the board — from big fleets to owner-operators and their vocational counterparts — have ridden a down-and-up roller coaster this year, according to ACT Research’s recently released Transportation Digest.

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“We’ve been tracking a number of trend-setting metrics that show what a wild ride it has been for carriers this year,” said Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst of ACT Research.

“According to the Bureau of the Census, retail data show non-store sales, primarily e-commerce, from May to September were over 17% of retail activity, a material increase from a 14.5% average in 2019,” he continued. “Stating the obvious, e-retailing got a big boost when the shutdown drove households to do emergency shelf stocking and avoid brick-and-mortar retail locations.”

The Transportation Digest, which combines proprietary ACT data and analysis from a wide variety of sources, paints a comprehensive picture of trends impacting transportation and commercial vehicle markets. The monthly report offers a quick look at transportation insights for use by fleet and trucking executives, reviewing top-level considerations such as for-hire indices, freight, heavy and medium duty segments, the U.S. trailer market, used truck sales information, and an overview of the U.S. macro economy.

“Light motor vehicle sales snap backed from April’s sales low of 8.7 million, topping a 16-million annualized rate in both September and October as the pandemic and work-from-home has driven out-migration from major urban areas,” Vieth noted.

“Additionally, the third quarter showed a dramatic, if perhaps temporary, resurrection of activity for many retail sectors, after the shutdown and shelter-in-place shocks in Q2,” he said. “As in retail, there is a ‘K-shaped’ recovery taking place in construction, with housing and warehousing doing well, while construction of office buildings, retail space, and manufacturing facilities remains sluggish.”

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