Freight to rebound after pandemic dip

by Today's Trucking

Freight volumes are set to surge 7.4% this year and demand will see growth, according to the American Trucking Association’s (ATA) forecast released on Monday.

The ATA’s annual look at the future of the freight economy – U.S. Freight Transportation Forecast 2021 to 2032 – showed a strong rebound and continued growth for freight demand this year and into the future.

Total freight tonnage will grow 28% from 2021 to 2032, the ATA forecast said. (Photo: iStock)

“With a focus on the supply chain this year, it is key we understand that among the many stressors on the system, the simple growth in freight demand and the economy is a significant factor,” said ATA chief economist Bob Costello. “After falling 6.8% in 2020, freight volumes are set to surge 7.4% this year – and we will see continued growth in freight demand across all modes for the foreseeable future.”

Some key findings of this year’s forecast:

  • Total freight tonnage will grow from an estimated 15.1 billion tons in 2021 to 19.3 billion tons in 2032 – a 28% increase.
  • While truck’s share of the freight tonnage will slowly decline from 72.2% in 2021 to 71% in 2032 – overall volumes will grow across all segments of the industry: truckload, less-than-truckload and private carrier. Truck tonnage should grow from 10.23 billion tons this year to 13.7 billion tons in 2023.
  • The total revenue derived from primary freight shipments in the U.S. will increase from an estimated $1.083 trillion in 2021 to $1.627 trillion in 2032.

“Trucking is continuously looking forward, and Freight Forecast is a tremendous tool for industry leaders and policymakers to see what the future holds for the transportation sector,” said ATA president and CEO Chris Spear. “Forecast is an indispensable resource for anyone interested in understanding not just the trucking industry, but the entire freight economy.”

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