January 2019 Trucking sees 5.5 percent increase over January 2018

March 1, 2019


At the beginning of this year, we saw several reports that forecasted a slowdown in trucking. Driver shortages, tariffs and regulatory requirements along with a cooling global economy are worrisome trends worth monitoring throughout the year. Despite the possibility of a slowdown in trucking, there are some green shoots for the market – companies are addressing the driver shortage by improving benefits and offering higher pay and bonuses, and a planned expansion and increase in tariffs on Chinese imports has been suspended.

While 2019 is still expected to be a good year for trucking, the outlook is bleaker because we likely won’t see the exciting numbers we saw in 2018. In a Transport Topics article it was cited that the ATA reported that, through November 2018, the total freight hauled by for-hire truck drivers was 7.2% more than the first 11 months of 2017, and tonnage levels reached a 20-year high.

However, the U.S. trucking market ended 2018 on the downside based on ATA data. The November data was revised downward and while December’s data was positive, it was the smallest year-over-year gain for the year. Regardless, 2018 was a strong year with ATA’s For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increasing 6.6% – the largest annual gain since 1998.

Trying to gage how well the logistics market will likely perform in a given year usually takes a few months into the new year and this year is no different. The Chinese New Year, which fell on February 5, and the now suspended tariffs that were to become effective in March, skewed industry data and year-over-year comparisons.

For example, the ATA reported that the truck tonnage index increased 2.3% in January 2019, which is 5.5% higher than January 2018. However, ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello noted “…we should expect some moderation in tonnage this year as most of the key sectors that generate truck freight tonnage are expected to decelerate.”

Meanwhile, Cass Freight Index for January recorded a 1.2% decline in shipments and 4.0% decline in expenditures both due to difficult annual comparisons. The outlook for freight remains positive for 2019, but to reach 2018 levels will certainly be difficult to achieve with many factors known and unknown impacting the industry as a whole.

Uncertainty brings opportunities for shippers. To find out more contact us to learn more.

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January 2019 Trucking sees 5.5 percent increase over January 2018

March 1, 2019


At the beginning of this year, we saw several reports that forecasted a slowdown in trucking. Driver shortages, tariffs and regulatory requirements along with a cooling global economy are worrisome trends worth monitoring throughout the year. Despite the possibility of a slowdown in trucking, there are some green shoots for the market – companies are addressing the driver shortage by improving benefits and offering higher pay and bonuses, and a planned expansion and increase in tariffs on Chinese imports has been suspended. While 2019 is still expected to be a good year for trucking, the outlook is bleaker because we likely won’t see the exciting numbers we saw in 2018. In a Transport Topics article it was cited that the ATA reported that, through November 2018, the total freight hauled by for-hire truck drivers was 7.2% more than the first 11 months of 2017, and tonnage levels reached a 20-year high. However, the U.S. trucking market ended 2018 on the downside based on ATA data. The November data was revised downward and while December’s data was positive, it was the smallest year-over-year gain for the year. Regardless, 2018 was a strong year with ATA’s For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increasing 6.6% – the largest annual gain since 1998. Trying to gage how well the logistics market will likely perform in a given year usually takes a few months into the new year and this year is no different. The Chinese New Year, which fell on February 5, and the now suspended tariffs that were to become effective in March, skewed industry data and year-over-year comparisons. For example, the ATA reported that the truck tonnage index increased 2.3% in January 2019, which is 5.5% higher than January 2018. However, ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello noted “…we should expect some moderation in tonnage this year as most of the key sectors that generate truck freight tonnage are expected to decelerate.” Meanwhile, Cass Freight Index for January recorded a 1.2% decline in shipments and 4.0% decline in expenditures both due to difficult annual comparisons. The outlook for freight remains positive for 2019, but to reach 2018 levels will certainly be difficult to achieve with many factors known and unknown impacting the industry as a whole. Uncertainty brings opportunities for shippers. To find out more contact us to learn more.

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