ATA Freight Transportation Forecast 2017 predicts industry growth

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Trucking and other modes should grow in the coming decade.
25 Jul 2017


The American Trucking Associations released its annual forward-looking analysis of the trucking industry July 19. In line with past analyses, “ATA Freight Transportation Forecast 2017” predicts what the next decade will look like for industry professionals.

Freight volumes will grow across all modes

Data published in the forecast paints a positive picture for the next few years. For the remainder of this year, ATA predicts freight volumes to grow 2.8 percent, Logistics Management reported. Beginning in 2018, volumes are expected to grow 3.4 percent annually until 2023.

By the end of this year, ATA predicts 15.18 billion tons of freight will be moved by all modes of transportation. By 2028, this number may increase to 20.73 billion tons.

These numbers reflect all modes of transportation – not just trucking. One mode that is expected to increase quickly in this time period is pipeline, which is predicted to increase 137 percent through 2028. As pipeline and other modes of transportation grow, they could cut into fleet services‘ bottom lines, Fleet Owner pointed out.

Nonetheless, it’s important to track how other modes are predicted to perform. This will help fleet owners make educated plans for their business models.

“We forecast all modes of freight transportation, not just trucking,” Bob Costello, chief economist of the ATA, told reporters in a conference call, according to Fleet Owner. “The reason we do that is that even when freight doesn’t go on trucks for the primary portion of the movement, so much of the secondary ones go via truck.”

Costello noted that some are skeptical about whether pipeline should be considered a mode. He says that when he is asked this question, he points out that it’s a direct competitor with truck and rail. Therefore, it is a mode and should be taken into account when analyzing the transportation industry as a whole.

Trucking industry value to increase

The trucking industry valuation is also expected to significantly increase, Overdrive Magazine reported. Between 2018 and 2023, the industry is predicted to grow 5.4 percent per year. After that, it’s expected to continue to rise 4.7 percent annually.

By 2024, ATA predicts trucking to be a $1 trillion industry. By the end of 2028, it’ll grow to be worth $1.24 trillion.

“All modes are going to see really good growth here with 89 percent for all modes combined, ranging from 207 percent for pipeline down to 43 percent growth over the forecast period for rail carload,” Costello explained on the call, Fleet Owner reported.

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