USAgNet – 12/12/2018

The U.S. freight trucking industry is forecast to see revenue increases of 3.3% annually in nominal terms through 2022, according to Freight by Truck: the United States, a report recently released by Freedonia Focus Reports, Cleveland, Ohio.

Advances will be driven by rising manufacturing, retail, and trade activity. Faster gains will be restrained by ongoing issues in the recruitment and retention of drivers — amid an environment of full employment and increasingly competitive pay — and resulting capacity limitations. However, freight customers may get an inflated sense of tightness in the industry if they find themselves unable to secure transportation on short notice, particularly as capacity can be allocated far in advance.

Other limiting factors include potentially reduced productivity due to intensified regulation (specifically hours of service), and continuing competition from alternative modes of transport. The growing popularity of intermodal freight shipment represents a mixed bag of drivers and constraints for the trucking industry, as trucks will capture share from competing modes where trucking represents a more economical mode for a particular leg of freight shipment and yield share where it does not. Finally, difficulty entering markets served by captive fleets will remain a barrier to industry growth.