ATA sees 25% freight growth in next decade

A new report released by the American Trucking Assns. (ATA) is forecasting bright days in the years ahead for freight and freight revenue. “The ATA U.S. Freight Transportation Forecast to 2021” predicts a 25% growth in total freight tonnage in ten years’ time

A new report released by the American Trucking Assns. (ATA) is forecasting bright days in the years ahead for freight and freight revenue. “The ATA U.S. Freight Transportation Forecast to 2021” predicts a 25% growth in total freight tonnage in ten years’ time.

“All modes of freight transportation were impacted by the ‘Great Recession,’ but I’m growing more optimistic about the long-term outlook,” said ATA chief economist Bob Costello. “There are certainly some risks, but I think better days do lie ahead for the freight hauling business.”

The report was conducted by IHS Global Insight and Martin Labbe Associates for ATA.

As tonnage increases, so too will revenue, which is predicted to rise 69% by 2021. Trucking should expect tonnage to grow to 70.7%, up from 68% in 2009. Trucks hauled 81.9% of freight tonnage by revenue last year, the report noted.

In addition to the truck freight outlook, the forecast also offers information on other transportation modes, including rail, domestic water, pipeline and domestic air.

Railroads share of total tonnage is predicted to slip slightly by 2021, dropping from 14.7% to 14.1%. Air cargo tonnage will grown from11.7 million tons in 2009 to 18.4 million tons in 2021, the report estimates.

The report also delves into consumer spending trends, predicting that it will expand 2.5% per year during the next decade with a declining unemployment rate that will level out at 6.7% by late 2015.

Industrial output, business investment, trade, housing starts, vehicle sales and other key drivers of freight are also examined. The forecast uses a 2009 baseline and in addition to freight tonnage and revenue predictions, it estimates the number of trucks that will be needed to move the freight. This year’s edition also includes historical data for all modes of freight dating back to 1990.

The forecast is published by ATA Business Solutions and can be purchased at www.atabusinesssolutions.com/ or by calling 1-866-821-3468.

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