After a significant dip during the recent recession and a mild economic recovery, the U.S. freight economy, particularly for trucking, is projected to grow significantly in the years ahead, according to the American Trucking Associations’ U.S. Freight Transportation Forecast to 2023, the results of which were announced Monday, July 9.
The forecast, a product of collaboration between ATA, IHS Global Insight and Martin Labbe Associates, lays out the current state of the freight economy and projects an even more robust role for trucks in the future.
“The trucking industry continues to dominate the freight transportation industry in terms of both tonnage and revenue, comprising 67 percent of tonnage and 81 percent of revenue in 2011,” said Bob Costello, ATA chief economist.
Overall, total freight tonnage is expected to grow by 21 percent by 2023, and revenue for the freight transportation industry is projected to rise 59 percent in that same timeframe.
Trucking’s share of the tonnage market will rise more than 2 percentage points to 69.6 percent by 2023, while the industry’s share of freight revenues will increase to 81.7 percent from 80.9 percent.
In other surface modes, rail’s overall share of tonnage will fall to 15 percent in 2023 from 15.7 percent in the baseline year of 2011. However, intermodal tonnage will rise 6.2 percent a year between 2012 and 2017, and then 5.4 percent annually through 2023.
Domestic waterborne tonnage will show modest growth between now and 2023 – growing 1 percent annually through 2023. Domestic airfreight tonnage is slated to grow more than 4 percent annually during the forecast period.