Shipping and Logistics

Freight Volumes to Expand Significantly by 2029

Written by Sandy Williams

The American Trucking Association forecasts that total freight volumes will increase by 4.2 percent to nearly 16 billion tons in 2018. Over the next decade, freight volumes will jump by 35.6 percent to 21.7 billion tons.

The newly released ATA Freight Forecast 2018 to 2029 also anticipates that truck volumes will grow 2.3 percent per year from 2019-2014 and 2.2 percent annually for the following five years. Trucks are expected to move 70.2 percent of total tonnage in 2018, but increased transport of commodities by pipeline will cause truck tonnage to decrease to 65.9 percent by 2029.

Railroads will also see an impact from pipeline strength, said ATA. Tonnage by rail, including intermodal, is expected to account for 12.6 percent of tonnage in 2018 and fall to 10 percent by 2029.

The growing volume of freight means trucking capacity will remain tight, said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. Capacity relief will come, he said, “if we significantly increase the number of drivers in short order, which is very unlikely; or the economy slows down significantly, which will eventually happen, but not any time soon.”

ATA President and CEO Chris Spear said the industry must do more to attract drivers. “Projected increases in freight volumes demand we act now on important issues facing trucking and the rest of the supply chain like workforce development and infrastructure investment,” said Spear. “More freight means we’ll need more trucks and more drivers to continue safely delivering our nation’s goods.”

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