The ACT For-Hire Trucking Index is a monthly survey of for-hire trucking service providers.
“We’re now nine months into this freight volume soft patch with lower goods spending, overstocked retail inventories, and declining imports,” Tim Denoyer, vice president and senior analyst at ACT Research, said. “The good news is that from a historical perspective, that means we’re closer to the end than the start.”
ACT Research converts responses into diffusion indexes, where the neutral or flat activity level is 50.
“Pricing power clearly shifted to shippers in 2022, but the recent stabilization hints the bottoming process is beginning,” Denoyer said. “Capacity continues to grow, with pent-up equipment demand still red hot, and freight demand is down, leaving the market balance loose near-term.”
Denoyer said the Driver Availability index remained at a cycle high of 57.7, reflecting medium and large fleets that act as safe havens in times like these.
“We also find the sharp slowdown in BLS trucking employment data interesting with regards to the industry at large,” Denoyer said.
He said the supply/demand balance reading of 40.8 is better than its worst levels of recent months in the 37-38 range, signaling the freight cycle is starting to bottom.
“With capacity starting to slow and demand to recover eventually, the market should begin to rebalance in the not-too-distant future,” Denoyer said.
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