New American Trucking Associations forecast points to continued tonnage and revenue growth
While it comes as no surprise that trucking accounts for the most tonnage and revenue of all freight transportation modes, a new report issued this week by the American Trucking Associations (ATA) made the case that the mode’s pole position will not be lessening anytime soon.
In its “ATA Freight Transportation Forecast 2023 to 2024,” ATA said that truck tonnage is pegged to increase to 14.2 billion tons by 2034. While 2034 is more than a decade from now, it is not unexpected to see such a high estimate, especially when taking into account now the ubiquitous mode routinely moves more than 70% of the nation’s freight.
A top-level look at the report’s findings found the following takeaways:
- overall truck tonnage will grow from an estimated 11.3 billion tons in 2023 to 14.2 billion tons in 2034, representing 72.4% of the freight tonnage in 2023 and 72.6% of tonnage at the end of the forecast period in 20234;
- trucking’s revenues will grow from $1.01 trillion in 2023 to $1.51 trillion in 2034, and account for 78.8% of the freight market; and
- in other modes, as coal and bulk petroleum shipments wane over time, rail carload tonnage will fall from 11% of total freight to 10.1% by 2034, with rail intermodal revenues expected to grow from $21.7 billion in 2023 to $35.2 billion in 2034, air cargo tonnage will grow from 17.6 million tons this year to 23.7 million tons in 2034, and pipelines will see their share of freight tonnage grow from 9.8% in 2023 to 10.4% in 2034
“In this edition of Forecast, you will see that the trucking industry continues to dominate the freight transportation industry in terms of both tonnage and revenue, comprising 72.2% of tonnage and 79.2% of revenue in 2022,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “That market share will continue to hold over the next decade, as the country will still rely on trucking to move the vast majority of freight.”
And ATA President and CEO Chris Spear added that this annual report helps to provide a gauge for industry stakeholders to know where the economy and the trucking industry are headed—which he said is critical for decision makers.
He also stated that the Freight Forecast should be “top of mind for policymakers in Washington, Sacramento and wherever decisions are being made that affect trucking.”
As has previously been stated in this space, I came across this takeaway from previous coverage of the ATA’s forecast:
“It is worth noting that while the supply chain can appear to be heavily fragmented at times, given its multiple transportation modes, regulations, emerging technologies and trends (think digital brokerage and last mile), many links of the chain often begin and end with a truck. That is something that cannot be overlooked, and the data presented in this report make that very clear.”
The point being here that trucking continues to be a vital cog in our nation’s supply chain, in both good times and bad.