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August 26, 2015

Volume 17 Issue 52

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U.S. Trucking to Keep on Trucking

Trucking will remain the dominant mode of freight transportation in the United States over the next 11 years, with the number of Class 8 trucks projected to grow from nearly 3.6 million in 2015 to almost 4 million by 2026, according to a new report by American Trucking Associations.

An Aug. 17 Transports Topic report echoed that trend in the present, citing WardsAuto.com data that found Class 8 retail truck sales climbed to 23,383 in July, up 24 percent from a year earlier and topping the 20,000-unit mark for the fifth straight month.

U.S. freight volumes will increase by nearly 29 percent over the next 11 years, according to ATA’s U.S. Freight Transportation Forecast to 2026.

“The outlook for all modes of freight transportation remains bright,” ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said in a news release. “Continued population growth, expansion of the energy sector and foreign trade will boost trucking, intermodal rail and pipeline shipments in particular.

The forecast projects a 28.6 percent increase in freight tonnage and a 74.5 percent increase in freight revenues to $1.5 trillion in 2026.

The share of tonnage hauled by truck is expected to dip slightly over the 11-year timeframe – from 68.8 percent in 2014 to 64.6 percent in 2026.

Pipelines will benefit more than other freight transportation modes. Due to tremendous growth in energy production in the U.S. Between 2015 and 2016, the forecast projects that pipeline volumes will increase an average of 10.6 percent per year, while their share of freight will rise from 10.8 percent in 2015 to 18.1 percent in 2026.

While railroads’ share of freight tonnage will decline from 14.2 percent in 2015 to 12. 3 percent in 2026, intermodal freight will be the second-fastest growing mode, increasing an average of 4.5 percent annually through 2021 and increasing 5.3 percent per year after that. Intermodal refers to the transfer of products involving multiple modes of transportation – truck, railroad or ocean carrier.

The forecast is a collaboration between ATA and IHS Global Insight.