COLUMBUS, Ind. — The latest release of ACT Research’s For-Hire Trucking Index, which includes August data, showed a continuing tight trucking market, with volume and rate surges ongoing and driver availability deteriorating. August’s volume index rose to 67.9 (seasonally adjusted), and productivity was at 67.8. With capacity and driver availability in contraction territory, at 48.9 and 32.0, respectively, the combination of strong demand and tight supply pushed the pricing index up to 66.4, a new two-year high.
“The average age of U.S. truck drivers is 55, and while we usually have some number of drivers near retirement who will just participate in peak rates, the calculus is different this year,” noted Tim Denoyer, vice president and senior analyst for ACT.
“Driver supply should improve from here, but gradually, as driver schools are still challenged by social distancing. We expect driver pay to start increasing to address the shortage, but this process takes time. Meanwhile, the acute tightness of the past few months isn’t likely to ease much,” he continued. “This month, feedback from carriers suggests that ‘mini-bids’ may shorten the lag between spot and contract rates in the coming months.”
ACT’s For-Hire Trucking Index is a monthly survey of for-hire trucking service providers. Responses are converted into diffusion indexes, where the neutral, or flat, activity level is 50. For-hire executives who are interested in participating in the survey can email [email protected] for information. Survey participants receive a detailed monthly analysis of the survey data, including volumes, freight rates, capacity, productivity and purchasing intentions, plus a complimentary copy of ACT’s Transportation Digest report.
The ACT Freight Forecast provides forecasts for the direction of truck 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 12 months. 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 for the future with confidence.