2020 ‘one-quarter’ bad for heavy-duty truck market, says ACT

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After a decided drop during the second quarter of 2020, the truck transportation market rebounded, according to analysts at ACT Research.

COLUMBUS, Ind. — According to ACT Research’s recently released Transportation Digest, 2020 wasn’t all bad for truck transportation and the heavy-duty market. It wasn’t even half bad. It was one-quarter bad — namely, the second quarter, from April to June.

“The shock and magnitude of the second quarter economic decline was without precedent in post-World War II history, forcing a reach to the Great Depression for parallels,” said Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst for ACT. “But the remarkable rebound of the economy and in truck freight began in the summer and gained momentum into autumn. Even during the worst of the trough in April and May, we forecast a second half rebound.”

ACT’s Transportation Digest combines proprietary ACT data and analysis from a variety of sources to paint a comprehensive picture of trends impacting transportation and commercial vehicle markets. The monthly report provides 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.

“The direction of the second half (of 2020) was correctly called. But the slope of the recovery’s path, and the speed and strength of the freight rebound (and the associated skyrocketing of freight rates), caught us off guard,” Vieth said.

“The lessons we learned from underestimating the market snapback are important in the formation of our current view,” he continued. “Some of the impacting factors in the second half of 2020 included the capacity squeeze, the goods-for-services substitution, expanded migration to e-commerce, low fuel prices and a housing boom, just to name a few.”

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