ACT Research: Freight Markets Less Impacted by COVID-19 than General Economy



Freight markets continue to be less impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic than the economy at large and a vaccine is seen as the key to unlocking a more broad-based recovery, according to the most recent Commercial Vehicle Dealer Digest by ACT Research.

The report, which combined ACT’s proprietary data analysis from a variety of industry sources, paints a picture of trends impacting transportation and commercial vehicle markets. This monthly report includes a relevant, high-level forecast summary and reviews top-level considerations such as for-hire indices, freight, heavy and medium duty segments, the total U.S. trailer market, used truck sales information, and the U.S. macro economy.

“Even as the economy struggles to regain its footing post-COVID and pre-vaccine, freight markets have been somewhat less impacted,” Steve Tam, vice president of ACT Research, said. “Most freight is related to society’s most basic needs: food, shelter, clothes, transportation. A positive for freight, in the current environment, is that much of the discretionary spending that was ‘experience’ focused, like travel, attending events and dining in restaurants, has been replaced by goods-based purchases that generate a greater amount of freight per dollar.

“One consideration we are seeing weigh on the market is parked capacity, but even with that, a case can be made for a steady, if modest, Class 8 market rebound from here. Based on continued increases in Classes 5-7 build, the OEMs appear to be betting on business and consumer resilience, while trailer forecasts are improving at the margin with accelerated trends in e-commerce boosting LTL demand and a new generation of home cooking driving some gains in multi-temp refrigerated vans.”

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