The rebalancing process in the US freight market is being drawn out by reluctance to part with workers and significant private fleet capacity expansion, even as pressure on fleets worsened this month as diesel prices spiked, according to the latest release of the Freight Forecast, U.S. Rate and Volume OUTLOOK report.
“Although seasonality remains loose and demand soft, spot market dynamics have begun to shift since the end of operations at Yellow on July 31. While this is a game-changer for LTL rates, so far, the truckload market is still loose enough for rates to be largely unaffected. We see the impact growing over time, along seasonal patterns,” shared Tim Denoyer, ACT Research’s Vice President and Senior Analyst.
The publicly traded for-hire fleets reduced their collective tractor count by 3% in 1H’23, but Class 8 tractor sales and production are still near maximum levels, adding considerably to the Class 8 tractor fleet. Private fleets are still growing and pulling freight from the for-hire market.
“Class 8 orders will be very interesting over the next several months and, in our view, pivotal to setting the market tone for 2024,” Denoyer concluded.
The monthly 58-page ACT Freight Forecast report provides analysis and forecasts for a broad range of U.S. freight measures, including the Cass Freight Index, Cass Truckload Linehaul Index, and DAT spot and contract rates by trailer type. The service provides monthly, quarterly, and annual predictions for the TL, LTL, and intermodal markets over a two- to three-year time horizon, including capacity, volumes, and rates. The Freight Forecast provides unmatched detail on the freight rate outlook, helping companies across the supply chain plan with greater visibility and less uncertainty.
ACT Research is recognized as the leading publisher of commercial vehicle truck, trailer, and bus industry data, market analysis and forecasts for the North America and China markets. ACT’s analytical services are used by all major North American truck and trailer manufacturers and their suppliers, as well as banking and investment companies. ACT Research is a contributor to the Blue Chip Economic Indicators and a member of the Wall Street Journal Economic Forecast Panel. ACT Research executives have received peer recognition, including election to the Board of Directors of the National Association for Business Economics, appointment as Consulting Economist to the National Private Truck Council, and the Lawrence R. Klein Award for Blue Chip Economic Indicators’ Most Accurate Economic Forecast over a four-year period. ACT Research senior staff members have earned accolades including Chicago Federal Reserve Automotive Outlook Symposium Best Overall Forecast, Wall Street Journal Top Economic Outlook, and USA Today Top 10 Economic Forecasters. More information can be found at www.actresearch.net.