ACT For-Hire Trucking Index: Volume & Productivity Rise in October

The latest release of ACT’s For-Hire Trucking Index showed the supply-demand balance rising to 55.6 on a seasonally adjusted basis in October, from 50.1 in September. The strong increase in the Volume Index and the downtick in the Capacity Index both pressed the balance higher, now showing some tightness returning to the trucking industry. This follows an essentially balanced market in September.

“We saw good sequential improvement in October freight volume and truck utilization, which we expect to continue through the holiday season. But we’ll have to be careful of the effects of pre-tariff shipping for the next several months. This corresponds to the 18% year-over-year increase in container imports at the Ports of LA and Long Beach in October, so it’s fair to say the pre-ship is helping, and will likely reverse to temporarily loosen supply-demand in early 2019,” said Tim Denoyer, ACT Research’s vice president and senior analyst.

The October fleet purchase intentions reading indicated an uptick in equipment demand, with 57.2% of respondents planning to buy trucks in the next three months, up from 55.5% in September. Denoyer noted, “After record year-to-date orders, this series should remain elevated as long lead-time truck orders are built and hit the highways.”

As part of this month’s survey, ACT Research queried fleets about future questions they would like to see asked of the industry. Denoyer commented, “Most of the questions that survey responders would have us ask in the future center around drivers, from recruiting strategies and sign-on bonuses to identification of the main reasons truck drivers leave their companies. Other concerns of fleets in ACT’s For-Hire Trucking Index survey included contract pricing and bidding, technology and collision mitigation, and regulation impacts.”

ACT is the leading publisher of new and used commercial vehicle (CV) industry data, market analysis and forecasting services for the North American market, as well as the U.S. tractor-trailer market and the China CV market. ACT’s CV services are used by all major North American truck and trailer manufacturers and their suppliers, as well as the banking and investment community in North America, Europe, and China.

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