COLUMBUS, Ind. — The latest release of ACT’s For-Hire Trucking Index, with October data, showed a modest Volume Index, at 52.0 (SA). October’s slower growth followed a sharply stronger 59.6 in September. The Pricing Index returned to negative territory in October, at 45.8 (SA), after recovering with volumes in September, at 52.5.
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“The freight industry improvement has not been broad-based in the past few months, and we continue to see plenty of evidence that points to inventory building ahead of tariffs as a key driver of recent performance, though strong consumer trends are also helping,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT Research’s president and senior analyst. “With still-aggressive private fleet growth and a weak US manufacturing sector, choppy results will likely continue, but the past few months suggest a bottoming process is underway.”
In a reflection of the imbalance between demand for freight services and the supply of Class 8 trucks competing for freight, the pricing index shows the path to rising profitability is not yet apparent. Regarding the rate index, Vieth said, “After collapsing in the second quarter, the pricing environment stabilized in the past few months. October’s lowest-since-June print suggests that pressure from capacity growth persists in the near to mid-term. That said, spikes in freight volumes, akin to what occurred in September, could perhaps lift rates on a one-off basis again, ahead of threatened tariffs in December.”
The ACT Freight Forecast provides forecasts for the direction of 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. 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.
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