ACT For-Hire Trucking Index: Rates Slip Amid Strong Holiday Freight



The latest release of ACT’s For-Hire Trucking Index, with December data, showed improvement in for-hire freight volumes and utilization, with 55.5 and 52.3 respective diffusion index readings, both up four points from November on a seasonally adjusted basis.

But even as for-hire capacity contracted again, the Freight Rates Index slid to 48.7 in December.

Tim Denoyer, ACT Research’s vice president and senior analyst commented, “We see encouraging signs that the freight downturn is in its late stages and the market will rebalance in 2020. However, the ongoing rate pressure, even as volumes ramped into the holidays, is symptomatic of ongoing excess industry capacity. Our survey respondents clearly get it, and reduced capacity for a sixth straight month, so we can pretty easily deduce that private fleet capacity additions through year-end 2019 are the main factor continuing to pressure for-hire rates.”

The ACT Freight Forecast provides forecasts for the direction of truck volumes and contract rates quarterly through 2020, with three years of annual forecasts for the truckload, less-than-truckload and intermodal segments of the transportation industry. For the truckload spot market, the report provides forecasts for the next twelve months. In 2019, the average accuracy of the report’s truckload spot rate forecasts was 98%. The ACT Research Freight Forecast uses equipment capacity modeling and the firm’s economics expertise to provide unprecedented visibility for the future of freight rates, helping businesses in transportation and logistics management plan for the future with confidence.

The ACT For-Hire Trucking Index is a monthly survey of for-hire trucking service providers. ACT Research  converts responses into diffusion indexes, where the neutral or flat level is 50. 

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