ATA’s “Freight Transportation Forecast” provides positive overview for trucking’s future

While it is well know that 2018 was a banner year for the trucking sector, it bears repeating. And one reason for that is that even though 2019 is down volume-wise compared to a year ago, there are still many reasons for optimism, when it comes to gauging the overall health of the market.

By ·

While it is well know that 2018 was a banner year for the trucking sector, it bears repeating. And one reason for that is that even though 2019 is down volume-wise compared to a year ago, there are still many reasons for optimism, when it comes to gauging the overall health of the market.

Yes, even though conditions for carriers are not at the same elevated levels as last year, in the form of very tight capacity and pricing power, they are not terrible by any stretch either, while things like the driver shortage remain intact and the state of regulations is mostly calm.

But back to the optimism part. Last week, the American Trucking Associations (ATA) issued its “ATA Freight Transportation Forecast: 2019 to 2030,” which it describes as an annual projection of the state of the freight economy.

And the big-ticket takeaway statistics featured in this motor freight report tell a story of ongoing strength and growth for years to come, including:

  • overall freight tonnage will grow to 20.6 billion tons in 2030, up 25.6% from 2019’s projection of 16.4 billion tons;
  • freight industry revenues will increase 53.8% to $1.601 trillion over the next decade;
  • trucking’s share of total freight tonnage will dip to 68.8% in 2030 from 71.1% this year, even as tonnage grows to 14.2 billion tons in 2030 from 11.7 billion tons;
  • trucking and total rail transportation will lose relative market share, even as revenues and tonnage grows, while intermodal rail, air and domestic waterborne transportation will show modest growth and pipeline transportation will experience explosive growth – surging 17.1% in tonnage and 8.6% in revenue over the next decade

ATA Chief Executive Bob Costello put these statistics into proper perspective.

“America’s trucking industry, and the overall freight transportation industry, are poised to experience strong growth over the next decade as the country’s economy and population grow,” he said.  “Our annual Freight Forecast is a valuable look at where we are headed so leaders in business and government can make important decisions about investments and policy.”

And ATA President and CEO Chris Spear explained that the ATA’s Freight Forecast report definitively explains why meeting challenges like infrastructure and workforce development are key components to the long-term success of trucking, adding that “it belongs on the desk of every decision maker in our industry and in the supply chain.”

If that is not a strong pitch to grab a copy of this report, then what is?

As mentioned in this space about a year ago when covering this annual report, it is worth noting that while the supply chain can appear to be heavily fragmented at times, given its multiple transportation modes, regulations, emerging technologies and trends (think digital brokerage and last mile), many links of the chain often begin and end with a truck. That is something that cannot be overlooked, and the data presented in this report make that very clear.

About the Author

Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. Contact Jeff Berman

Subscribe to Logistics Management Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Latest Whitepaper
Are Your Profits Taking a Hit in This New Retail Environment?
This whitepaper aims to provide a better understanding of whether it might be a solution for your retail supply chain operations.
Download Today!
From the September 2019 Logistics Management Magazine Issue
For me, September is the time to make a fresh start. It’s the beginning of new school year for the kids; a new college and professional football season ramps up; and, of course, conference season for nearly all professions is about to get into full swing.
IMO 2020 is Coming to Town: Will the spiking cost of fuel cause you pain?
Cold Chain/ Food Logistics: Setting the standard for cold chain
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly newsletter!
Latest Webcast
The State of Rail/Intermodal Markets. Volumes are down, but the future looks bright
In this webcast, our panel will provide a comprehensive update on the current state of the rail/intermodal markets and offer an in-depth look at the pain points shippers have been experiencing (service challenges, precision scheduled railroading (PSR), rates, capacity management) and offers shippers advice on how to prepare for the Q4 2019.
Register Today!
Masters of Logistics 28th Edition: Find your digital direction
Given the number of available and emerging digital solutions capable of transforming and improving...
36th Annual Quest for Quality Awards: Winners in the spotlight
Which carriers, third-party logistics (3PL) providers and U.S. ports have reached the pinnacle of...

State of Logistics in 2019: What’s next?
Tight capacity, high rates, rapid e-commerce growth and a booming economy fueled an 11.45% rise in...
Got labor? How supply chain companies are recruiting talent during a labor crunch
How are companies faring in the race to recruit and train high-level supply chain talent in a market...