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ATA Predicts Continued Growth for Trucking

The American Trucking Associations (ATA) released its Freight Transportation Forecast report for 2017 through 2028 today and has projected continued growth for the transportation and trucking industry.

“As the U.S. population grows and the economy increases with it, we will see continued gains in demand for freight transportation,” said ATA chief economist Bob Costello.

In the forecast, ATA projects freight volumes to grow 2.8% in 2017, and after that a 3.4% annual growth through 2023. After that, ATA projects a more modest growth rate of 2.3%.

In 2017, ATA projects that 15.18 billion tons of freight will be moved by all modes – a figure that rises 36.6% to 20.73 billion tons in 2028.

“Over the forecast period, capacity shortfalls will develop,” the report said. “We are starting to see some selected tightness in freight handling capacity, enough to suggest that capacity expansion will be required if the modes are going to be able to handle anticipated growth.”

“While overall truck volumes will continue to rise, and trucking will remain the dominant freight mode – its share of freight tonnage will dip to 67.2% by 2028, with pipelines picking up most of the additional market share, and, to a lesser extent, rail intermodal,” Costello said.

In 2016, trucks handled 70.6% of total tonnage.

Since all volumes are set to grow, Costello explained in the media conference shortly after the report was made public, “we are going to have to figure out how we’re going to move all this freight.”

According to the forecast, ATA predicts an increase in truck sales to average 821,386 units (Class 3-8) per year from 2024-2028. Class 8 vehicle will make up 257, 567 of that total.

The report also outlines that the ATA expects to see 3.43 million Class 8 vehicles in operation  in 2017, rising to 3.52 million in 2018, and then averaging 3.76 million in
the 2019-2023 time period. From 2024-2028, ATA predicts there will be 4.07 million Class 8 vehicles in operation.

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