ACT Freight Forecast: Stronger-for-Longer Peak, with a Series of Inflationary Events



ACT Research released the latest installment of the ACT Freight Forecast, U.S. Rate and Volume OUTLOOK report.

Tim Denoyer, ACT Research’s vice president and senior analyst, said, “Freight markets remain tight as we head into a clearly historic peak season with unprecedented containership backlogs, currently about 125 at anchor at North American ports. The chip shortage may have some light at the end of the tunnel, but it continues to slow equipment capacity growth. And the Delta variant, which worsened the chip shortage, could also impact the nascent and gradual recovery in driver supply.”

“The ACT Driver Availability Index continued to improve this month, and BLS trucking employment trends continued to improve despite slowing of national job growth. The effects from the pandemic, driver demographics, e-commerce driving jobs and the Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse are lengthening the rate cycle, but we expect economic incentives to eventually outweigh the secular driver supply constraints,” Denoyer said.
When asked about the intermodal situation, Denoyer said, “Network congestion has interrupted freight movement despite strong demand. Due in large part to the 200%+ tariffs on Chinese chassis and subassemblies since late last year [made official in May], chassis production is 35% below where it should be at this point in the cycle.” He concluded, “Amid perhaps the strongest freight demand of all time, the US chassis fleet is shrinking because of these tariffs, which make the situation tough to remedy quickly. We expect intermodal volumes to be impacted through this peak season and beyond.”

The monthly 56-page ACT Freight Forecast report provides forecasts through 2023 for volumes and contract rates for the truckload, less-than-truckload and intermodal sectors of the transportation industry, including the Cass Shipments Index and Cass Truckload Linehaul Index®. For the truckload spot market, the report forecasts rates through 2022. The Freight Forecast provides unmatched detail on the freight rate outlook, helping companies across the supply chain plan with greater visibility and less uncertainty.

ACT’s commercial electric vehicle study, Charging Forward: 2020-2024 BEV & FCEV Forecast & Analysis, was published on March 31, 2021, after months of extensive research. Utilizing industry expertise and analysis, as well as the input from a comprehensive list of key industry study participants, ACT Research has developed a critical guide for battery electric and fuel cell electric unit build and sales forecasts over the next two decades. With coverage of Classes 4-8 commercial vehicles, ACT has identified 14 market subsegments and more than 20 application types; this one-of-a-kind report is a must-have for those investing or investigating electric power opportunities. To learn more or to purchase this report, click here.

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