COLUMBUS, Ind. — The latest release of ACT’s For-Hire Trucking Index, with February 2022 data, showed decreases in the Volume and Pricing Indices, as the Capacity Index grew.
The ACT For-Hire Trucking Index is a monthly survey of for-hire trucking service providers.
ACT Research converts responses into diffusion indexes, where the neutral or flat activity level is 50.
“The Volume Index fell 1.7 points in February, in line with our revised GDP forecasts for 2022, as inflation weighs on consumers’ wallets,” Carter Vieth, research associate at ACT Research, said. “The freight volume outlook remains positive, but COVID variants and the inflationary effects of war cast some uncertainty.”
He said the Capacity Index rose from January to February, ticking to 52.4.
“The improvement was driven by more drivers returning to seats, after Omicron increased absenteeism in January, and truck manufacturers still building at slightly above-replacement rates in February,” Vieth said. “With equipment production still challenged, the improvement in recent months is likely largely about drivers, and the sustainability of the gains will be important to the 2022 rate trajectory.”
He added that equipment may soon surpass drivers as the top constraint on trucking capacity, particularly if Ukrainian neon-related production issues further strain the Class 8 tractor fleet.
“The pandemic continues to pressure driver availability, but with labor force participation gradually and pro-cyclically picking up, as more people respond to higher pay, the trend in driver availability should continue to gradually recover,” Veith said.
The ACT Freight Forecast provides forecasts for spot truckload rates by trailer type for four to six quarters and truck volumes and contract rates for three years for the truckload, less-than-truckload and intermodal segments of the transportation industry. In 2019, the average accuracy of the report’s truckload spot rate forecasts was 98%.
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 with confidence.
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