ACT Research: 2020 Has Been a Roller Coaster for Motor Carriers



According to ACT Research’s recently released Transportation Digest, from big fleets to owner-operators and their vocational counterparts, motor carriers across the board have ridden a down-and-up roller coaster this year.

The report, which combines proprietary ACT data and analysis from a variety of sources, paints a picture of trends impacting transportation and commercial vehicle markets. This monthly report is designed as a quick look at transportation insights for use by fleet and trucking executives, reviewing top-level considerations such as for-hire indices; freight, heavy and medium duty segments; the U.S. trailer market; used truck sales information; and an overview of the U.S. macro economy.

“We’ve been tracking a number of trend-setting metrics that show what a wild ride it has been for carriers this year,” Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst of ACT Research, said. “According to the Bureau of the Census, retail data show non-store sales, primarily e-commerce, from May to September were over 17% of retail activity, a material increase from a 14.5% average in 2019. Stating the obvious, e-retailing got a big boost when the shutdown drove households to do emergency shelf stocking and avoid brick-and-mortar retail locations.

“Light motor vehicle sales snap backed from April’s sales low of 8.7 million, topping a 16-million annualized rate in both September and October as the pandemic and work-from-home has driven out-migration from major urban areas. Additionally, the third quarter showed a dramatic, if perhaps temporary, resurrection of activity for many retail sectors after the shutdown and shelter-in-place shocks in Q2. As in retail, there is a ‘K-shaped’ recovery taking place in construction, with housing and warehousing doing well, while construction of office buildings, retail space and manufacturing facilities remains sluggish.”

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