Skip to content

ATA Predicts a Good Decade Ahead for the Trucking Industry

American Trucking Associations predicted a bright future for the trucking industry in its Freight Transportation Forecast to 2022.

Following the worst recession in the post-war era, the economy and freight transportation are finally growing again. In the forecast report, the ATA said the trucking has a good decade of growth ahead.

Although freight transportation tonnage and revenue retracted a stunning 19 and 18 percent respectively from peak to trough during The Great Recession, the outlook remains bright for all modes. Total freight tonnage is expected to grow 24 percent over the forecast period, with revenues jumping 66 percent by 2022.

The initial recovery, however fragile it may be, got off to a good start in 2010, but still has a lot of ground to cover. The U.S. economy managed to expand nearly 3 percent, and industrial output advanced 5.6 percent. Domestic tonnage rose an estimated 5.8 percent in 2010, which although good, was still around 14 percent below the most recent peak. But growth will continue with total freight tonnage increasing 19 percent by 2022 to 16.5 billion tons per year.

While these overall numbers are good for everyone, trucking as a segment is predicted to outperform other modes in the coming decade.

“Trucking is going to see significantly higher tonnage growth than some of the other modes,” said Bob Costello, chief economist at the ATA. “Trucking is also going to see faster revenue growth.”

Trucks’ share of total tonnage will rise from 67.2 percent in 2010 to 69.2 percent in 2016 and 70.0 percent by 2022. Truck revenue will grow from $563 billion in 2010 to $937 billion on 2022, although revenue share will only grow by 0.2 percent to 81.4 percent.

Rail intermodal will see much higher growth rates in both tonnage and revenue, averaging 6.1 percent and 11 percent respectively over the decade. However, intermodal will remain a very small segment, with only 1.8 percent of total freight volume by the end of the period, and 2.7 percent of revenues.

Playing Catch-Up

Coming out the worst economic climate since The Great Depression, freight volumes have some catching-up to do to reach pre-recession levels. As such, the growth rate in the first half of the decade will be higher than the second.

Total volume of U.S. freight will increase an average of 2.7 percent per year from 2011-2016, and then 1 percent per year until 2022. In the same time frames, trucking will grow 3.3 percent annually, and then drop off to 1.2 percent annually. Costello says this is perfectly normal.

“When you come out of the doldrums, you are going to get some better growth rates,” he said. “The 1.2 percent is much closer to the long-run historical trends.”

As growth rates flatten out, shipping shares of each mode will continue to be stable, which is great news for carriers.

“Major modal shifts are a thing of the past,” Costello said. “Trucking is going to continue to dominate the freight transportation industries.”

However, according to Costello, the biggest take away from the report is that all modes of freight transportation have a bright future. If the economic recovery continues as expected, there should be more than enough freight, not to mention revenue, to go around for everyone.

To purchase the full report, visit:

Printer Friendly Version
Email This Story
Bookmark and Share

Industry : Related News

5/31/2011 – ATA Predicts a Good Decade Ahead for the Trucking Industry

American Trucking Associations predicted a bright future for the trucking industry in its Freight Transportation Forecast to 2022.

Following the worst recession in the post-war era, the economy and freight transportation are finally growing again. In the forecast report, the ATA said the trucking has a good decade of growth ahead. …

5/31/2011 – Commercial Trailer Order Backlog Grows Despite Falloff in Order Activity

Commercial trailer backlogs reached 101,244 units in April. While backlogs grew during the month, net orders posted a 30 percent decline from the previous month, according to ACT Research….

5/27/2011 – Reefer Freight Up 7 Percent Last Week

Last week’s refrigerated van freight rose 7 percent last week over the previous week on TransCore’s DAT Network of load boards in response to seasonal produce demands. Dry van and flatbed freight rose 0.5 percent over the previous week,…

5/24/2011 – Spot Market Truck Capacity Hits Highest Levels in Six Months

For the week ending May 14, spot market truck capacity recorded the highest volume for a single week in the past six months as truck availability increased 8 percent nationwide on TransCore’s DAT Network of load boards….

5/24/2011 – Joplin Tornado Kills 116; HOS Rules Lifted in Response; Non-Emergency Vehicles Barred from Entry


A tornado that devastated Joplin, Mo., on Sunday evening killed 116 people, tying for second deadliest in the United States since the National Weather Service began keeping records in 1950. About 18,000 of the city’s population of 50,500, 35 percent, are without power, leading state officials to ask truckers and other travelers to avoid fueling up in the area….

5/23/2011 – 3PL Market Growing Strong

Most third-party logistics providers got back on track in 2010 and are sprinting in 2011, according to a new report released by Armstrong Associates….

5/23/2011 – Mack to Increase Production, Hire 300 at Pennsylvania Plant to Meet Increased Demand

Mack Trucks announced that due to increased demand for the Mack Pinnacle, the company will boost production at its Macungie, Pa., truck plant in August and hire approximately 300 people to support the increase….

5/19/2011 – Heavy-Duty Order Backlog Reaches 55-Month High

North American Class 8 orders totaled 38,100 units in April, according to ACT Research. This was up more than 31 percent from the level set in March and over 157 percent above previous year….

5/18/2011 – Trucking Makes Special Delivery for Charity

The trucking industry, through a partnership of the American Trucking Associations and Good360, delivered life’s essentials to two charities in the Lewisburg, W.V., area….

5/17/2011 – TransCore’s North American Freight Index Dips in April Due to Extreme Weather

TransCore’s North American Freight Index showed a 14 percent decline in spot market truckload freight volume for the month of April compared to March, but a 12 percent increase compared to April 2010….

5/16/2011 – FTR Shippers Condition Index Falls Significantly

FTR Associates’ Shippers’ Condition Index as reported in the firm’s May Shippers Update fell significantly to a reading of -11.4, reflecting tightening capacity and accelerating transport costs….

5/12/2011 – ACT: Commercial Vehicle Market Continues on Solid Recovery Path

Improved demand across the entire heavy duty vehicle market is reflected in the most recently available data, according to ACT Research Co., which says it is “readily apparent” that the stage has been set for a long run-up in demand across the medium-duty and heavy-duty truck and commercial trailer segments….

5/12/2011 – DOT’s Freight Index: Shipments Highest Since July 2008

The amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry increased 1.9 percent in March from February to reach the highest level since July 2008, according to the DOT’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ Freight Transportation Services Index….

5/10/2011 – Lease-Accounting Rules Change Delayed as Complexity Complaints Addressed

It looks like proposed changes in accounting practices that would affect fleets that lease trucks will not go into effect as soon as originally expected….

5/10/2011 – Expert Defines Keys to Growth in Trucking Industry at Conference

Satish Jindel, president of SJ Consulting Group, defined the keys to growth in the trucking industry at the Carrier Logistics’ recent Group Conference in White Plains, N.Y….

5/5/2011 – April Truck Orders Highest in Five Years

Preliminary numbers indicate Class 8 commercial vehicle orders for North American markets climbed to 38,200 units in April, up 158 percent from year ago, according to ACT Research — the largest monthly order intake since March 2006….

5/5/2011 – Commercial Truck Market Could be Entering ‘Sweet Spot’

The commercial used truck market could be entering a period of growth as dealers begin to see more high-value trade-ins, says Chris Visser, senior analyst with the ATD/NADA Official Commercial Truck Guide….

5/4/2011 – Michigan Senate Passes Bill Calling for Reman Parts in State Fleet

On April 27, the Michigan Senate passed a bill (SB-185) that prioritizes the use of remanufactured parts in the state’s motor vehicle fleet….

5/4/2011 – Survey: More Larger Fleets Planning Larger Equipment Orders

Fewer fleets say they’re planning to place equipment orders in the coming quarter, but the average size of the order is the highest since the fourth quarter of 2008, according to CK Commercial Vehicle Research’s most recent Fleet Sentiment Report….

5/4/2011 – Road Dog Satellite Radio Moving Channels

Sirius XM is reordering channels on both its Sirius and XM satellite radio feeds, including the Road Dog trucking channel….

5/2/2011 – Commercial Trailer Net Orders, Shipments Post Double Digit Growth

Net orders and shipments of commercial trailers continued their robust performance during March, according to ACT Research. Net orders rose 21 percent from February levels, while shipments were more than 33 percent above the previous month….

4/29/2011 – UPS Q1 Earnings Up 24%

UPS announced diluted earnings per share of 88 cents for the first quarter of 2011, a 24 percent improvement over the adjusted 71 cents for the prior-year period….

4/29/2011 – Tornado Outbreak Destroys Truckstop, Affects Carriers, Shippers, Drivers

[UPDATE 2] Tornadoes that ravaged wide swaths of the South Wednesday demolished a Virginia truckstop and dealt damage to several trucking companies.

In the worst outbreak since 1974, 164 tornadoes blitzed 13 states on Wednesday, killing at least 230 people. Alabama was hit hardest with an estimated 128 deaths, prompting President Obama to declare a state of emergency there….

4/29/2011 – Cummins Q1 Sales Up 56% to $3.9 Billion

Cummins reported sharply higher sales and earnings compared to the first quarter of 2010 on continued strength in key international markets, a recovering North American truck market and productivity improvements….

4/28/2011 – First Quarter Fleet Results: Earnings Tempered by Weather and Fuel

The first quarter of 2011 saw strong revenue and profit increases for many carriers. However, the good results were tempered by bad weather and the spike in fuel prices. On the whole, fleets expect business to continue increasing through the remainder of 2011….

4/28/2011 – Truckstop, Trucking Companies Hit in Southern Tornadoes

Tornados ravaged parts of the South yesterday, damaging some trucking companies and severely damaging at least one truck stop….

4/27/2011 – ATA Tonnage Index Rises 1.7 Percent in March

The American Trucking Associations’ advance seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 1.7 percent in March after falling a revised 2.7 percent in February. The latest gain put the seasonally adjusted index at 115.4 in March, the highest level since January of this year…

4/27/2011 – Positive Industry Outlook Tempered by Rising Operating Expenses

Nearly three-quarters, 71 percent, of trucking company executives surveyed by GE Capital, Transportation Finance expect business conditions to improve in 2011, but they are concerned about the impact of external and internal factors on their profit margins….

4/27/2011 – Carrier Survey Finds Rates Up For Majority

Average freight rates continue to rise, according to the First Quarter Business Expectations Survey by Transport Capital Partners, with larger carriers reporting smaller increases than the smaller companies….

4/27/2011 – Used Truck Market Shows Price Rises, Higher Miles

The upward price trend of used Class 8 commercial vehicles that began in early 2010 continued into March 2011, according to ACT Research. The reported average sales price increased 6 percent from February levels….

4/21/2011 – Heavy-Duty Order Backlog Approaches 108,000 Units

Strong order volume pushed the Class 8 backlog to almost 108,000 units in March, according to ACT Research….

4/20/2011 – Trucking Companies Relying Less on Broker Services

Carriers are using less broker services, another sign of tightening capacity, according to a survey by Transport Capital Partners.

The recent First Quarter Business Expectations Survey by the transportation advisory firm found 87 percent of carriers said they have used less broker services during the past three months….

I agree to have my personal information transfered to MailChimp ( more information )
Join over 3.000 visitors who are receiving our newsletter and learn how to optimize your blog for search engines, find free traffic, and monetize your website.
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.
Tax, Accounting, Consulting - Emil Estafanous, CPA, CFF, CGMA