ACT: For-Hire Trucking Volume Below Neutral for 2nd Consecutive Month

According to the ACT Research For-Hire Trucking Index, the Volume Index was still in negative territory, below the 50 neutral mark, at 48.1 in December. The supply-demand balance turned down even further, hitting 44.3 on a seasonally-adjusted basis.

“The volume softness was likely due in part to the unusual tariff-related inventory build that sat at near-port warehouses,” said Tim Denoyer, ACT Research’s vice president and senior analyst.

Regarding the supply-demand balance reading, Denoyer commented, “After tightening a bit in October, the November and December readings show the loosest industry supply-demand balance since April of 2016.” He added, “Both accelerating Class 8 tractor production and slowing freight growth are likely to loosen the supply-demand balance as we approach the 2019 contract rate season.”

The December fleet purchase intentions reading indicated a drop in equipment demand, with 51.6% of respondents planning to buy trucks in the next three months, down from 64.1% (SA) in November.

Denoyer noted, “After record orders last year, this series should rebound as long lead-time truck orders are built and hit the highways.”

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