ACT Research’s For-Hire Trucking Index Highlights Driver Shortage



The latest release of ACT Research’s For-Hire Trucking Index showed a continuing tight trucking market, with volume and rate surges ongoing and driver availability deteriorating.

August’s volume index rose to 67.9 and productivity was at 67.8. Capacity and driver availability were in contraction territory at 48.9 and 32.0, respectively, with the combination of strong demand and tight supply pushing the pricing index up to 66.4, which marked a new two-year high.

The ACT For-Hire Trucking Index is a monthly survey of for-hire trucking service providers. ACT Research converts responses into diffusion indexes, where the neutral or flat activity level is 50.

“The average age of U.S. truck drivers is 55, and while we usually have some number of drivers near retirement who will just participate in peak rates, the calculus is different this year,” Tim Denoyer, vice president and senior analyst at ACT Research, said. “Driver supply should improve from here, but gradually, as driver schools are still challenged by social distancing. We expect driver pay to start increasing to address the shortage, but this process takes time. Meanwhile, the acute tightness of the past few months isn’t likely to ease much. This month, feedback from carriers suggests that ‘mini-bids’ may shorten the lag between spot and contract rates in the coming months.”

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