COLUMBUS, Ind. — The latest release of ACT’s For-Hire Trucking Index showed August volume flat and productivity down, with the supply and demand balance and capacity rising marginally.
Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst at ACT Research, said that “while volume index flatness month-over-month reflects the difficult freight environment, August’s number remains above the June/Q2 dip and reflects diminished but wage-supported underlying economic conditions.”
Vieth said productivity/utilization declined seven points month-over-month to 47.6 in August, as the lower volume freight market increases inefficiency.
Downward pressure on freight volumes related to inflation and interest rates, recovering equipment production, and still-rising driver populations suggest that fleet utilization is likely to be choppy across coming quarters, he said.
Regarding supply and demand, Vieth said that while volumes were up incrementally this month, “the reading still reflects a loose trucking market and a late stage in the freight cycle.”
“Freight volumes are not in significant downturn, but have certainly stagnated since Q1, whereas capacity, which always lags the cycle, is still growing,” he added. “With capacity growth set to continue amid flattish industry volumes, the looser environment is likely to persist, even as volumes ramp into peak freight season in the coming months.”
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