ATA predicts U.S. freight volumes will increase by 36% during next decade

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Various Modes of Freight
An annual freight forecast from the American Trucking Associations predicts continued growth in both trucking and the overall freight industry between 2020 and 2031.

ARLINGTON, Va. — Despite contraction during 2020, the long-term trend for both trucking and overall freight shipments remains positive, according to the American Trucking Associations’ (ATA) latest Freight Transportation Forecast: 2020 to 2013, released Sept. 28. The annual forecast is conducted by IHS Markit.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on many parts of the economy and trucking is no exception,” said Bob Costello, chief economist for ATA. “However, despite significant contractions in 2020, the forecast makes it clear that the long-term trend for trucking, as well as for the overall freight economy is positive.”

Among the findings in this year’s freight forecast:

  • Total freight volumes in 2020 are likely to collapse by 10.6% to 14.6 billion tons, although truck freight volumes fall a smaller 8.8%.
  • Trucking volumes are expected to rebound in 2021, rising 4.9% next year and then growing 3.2% per year on average through 2026.
  • Overall freight revenues in 2020 will total $879 billion, rising to $1.435 trillion in 2031.

“(The) Freight Forecast provides a roadmap for where our industry, as well as all modes of freight transportation, are going — which is why you can find it on the desks of industry executives and policymakers around the world,” Costello said.

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