ACT: For-Hire Trucking Index Pricing Index Drops Considerably

The latest release of ACT Research’s For-Hire Trucking Index showed an improvement in volume, although the measure remains in negative territory at 49.5 seasonally adjusted. The bigger story this month, however, was the Pricing Index, which fell considerably to 45.4, from 49.4 seasonally adjusted in March. The supply-demand balance was loose for the sixth consecutive month, and the reading dropped to 45.3 in April, from 46.7 in March.

Kenny Vieth, ACT Research’s president and senior analyst commented, “This was the third straight Pricing Index negative after 30 consecutive months of expansion, and after an extraordinary cycle with a record 64.8 average for full-year 2018, rates are under pressure from weak freight volumes and strong capacity growth.”

Vieth also noted, “Volume in April fell for the fifth time in the past six months, and the softness coincides with several other recent freight metrics we’ve been reporting in our Freight Forecast. We attribute at least part of this to the unusual tariff-related inventory pull-forward that occurred late last year.”

Regarding the supply-demand balance, Vieth said, “Although the Volume Index reading improved slightly, it was outweighed by the higher Capacity Index, giving us the loosest industry supply-demand balance in almost three years (April 2016). Both elevated Class 8 tractor production and soft freight volumes will keep the supply-demand balance loose until freight improves, capacity tightens, or both.”

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