ATA Projects 28% Increase in Freight Tonnage by 2032

The American Trucking Associations released its annual look at the future of the freight economy: U.S. Freight Transportation Forecast 2021 to 2032. The forecast projects a strong rebound and continued growth for freight demand this year and into the future.

“With a focus on the supply chain this year, it is key we understand that among the many stressors on the system, the simple growth in freight demand and the economy is a significant factor,” Bob Costello, chief economist for the ATA, said. “After falling 6.8% in 2020, freight volumes are set to surge 7.4% this year, and we will see continued growth in freight demand across all modes for the foreseeable future.”

Key Projections

  • Total freight tonnage will grow from an estimated 15.1 billion tons in 2021 to 19.3 billion tons in 2032, marking a 28% increase.
  • While trucks’ share of the freight tonnage will slowly decline from 72.2% in 2021 to 71% in 2032, overall volumes will grow across all segments of the industry, including truckload, less-than-truckload and private carrier. Truck tonnage should grow from 10.23 billion tons this year to 13.7 billion tons in 2023.
  • The total revenue derived from primary freight shipments in the United States will increase from an estimated $1.083 trillion in 2021 to $1.627 trillion in 2032.

“Trucking is continuously looking forward, and [the] freight forecast is a tremendous tool for industry leaders and policymakers to see what the future holds for the transportation sector,” Chris Spear, president and CEO of the ATA, said. “[The] forecast is an indispensable resource for anyone interested in understanding not just the trucking industry, but the entire freight economy.”

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