The U.S. trucking sector showed rising productivity in July, as increased volume outweighed increased capacity, according to a report from the freight analyst firm ACT Research.
The profile came from ACT’s For-Hire Trucking Index, a monthly survey of for-hire trucking service providers. Columbus, Indiana-based ACT converts those responses into a single index number, where the neutral or flat activity level is 50.
“While up this month, the reading still reflects a loose trucking market and a late stage in the freight cycle,” Tim Denoyer, vice president & senior analyst at ACT Research, said in a release. “Freight volumes are not in a significant downturn, but are certainly flat to down a little, whereas capacity, which always lags, is still rising. With capacity growth set to continue amid flattish industry volumes, the looser environment is likely to persist, even as volumes ramp into peak season in the coming months.”
According to ACT, the strong volume measure for July coincides with better retail activity in response to significant discounts and a considerable drop in fuel prices, relieving some of the pressure on consumers.
In a longer-term view, the nation’s freight environment overall remains “flattish,” Denoyer said. “Fleet productivity/utilization rose and is the highest it’s been in 2022, but the index is well below 2021’s average, as the easing market balance removes the pressure of the past 18 months,” he said. “Downward pressure on volumes related to service substitution and inflation, recovering equipment production, and still-rising driver populations suggest that fleet utilization is likely to be choppy across coming quarters.”
ACT Research For-Hire Trucking Index: Volume and Productivity Looking Uphttps://t.co/WawND1f6Vn— ACT Research (@actresearch) August 22, 2022