ACT Research: Freight Market Balance Loose with Signs of Bottoming
The latest release of ACT’s For-Hire Trucking Index, show volumes and the supply-demand balance increased in December, while freight trucking rates continue to decline.
The ACT For-Hire Trucking Index is a monthly survey of for-hire trucking service providers. ACT Research converts responses into diffusion indexes, where the neutral or flat activity level is 50. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are a for-hire executive interested in participating. In return, participants receive a detailed monthly analysis of the survey data, including Volumes, Freight Rates, Driver Availability, Capacity, Productivity and Purchasing Intentions, plus a complimentary copy of ACT’s Transportation Digest report.
Concerning volume, Tim Denoyer, Vice President & Senior Analyst at ACT Research, commented, “We’re now nine months into this freight volume soft patch with lower goods spending, overstocked retail inventories, and declining imports. The good news is that from a historical perspective, that means we’re closer to the end than the start.”
On rates, he noted, “Pricing power clearly shifted to shippers in 2022, but the recent stabilization hints the bottoming process is beginning. Capacity continues to grow, with pent-up equipment demand still red hot, and freight demand is down, leaving the market balance loose near-term.”
On drivers, he added, “Our Driver Availability index remained at a cycle high of 57.7, reflecting medium and large fleets who 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 concluded, “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.”
ACT Research Freight Forecast 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 truckload, less-than-truckload, and intermodal markets over a two- to three-year time horizon, including capacity, volumes, and rates.
ACT’s full-year 2022 forecasts for DAT dry van and reefer spot rates, net fuel, were 93%-94% accurate on average for the 21-month forecast period, with our 2022 forecasts from Q2’21 (19–21 months out) 99.7% accurate for dry van and 98.5% for reefer. DAT dry van spot rates, net fuel, finished 2022 at $2.06 per mile, in line with our forecasts to the penny from 18 and 19 months out (June and July 2021).
The ACT Research Freight Forecast uses equipment capacity modeling and the firm’s industry 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.
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.
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Click below to access:
More information about ACT’s Freight Forecast, U.S. Rate and Volume OUTLOOK.
More about other freight-related publications offered by ACT Research.
December’s For-Hire Trucking Index press release.