Following 2014’s trucking boom — when freight and rates took off, truck orders set records and the industry saw some of the best economic times for carriers since the ’08-’09 recession — 2015 has been a little disappointing, at least by some measures.
Expectation gap? Could be. Especially if the expectation was for 2015 to pick up where 2014 left off.
Truck orders fell off in the first half of the year, rates have been tumbling (though much of that may be attributable to drops in fuel prices) and freight reports have been mixed.
Two reports from July, however, could have the industry looking up.
Truck tonnage in July rose to its second highest reading on record, according to the American Trucking Associations, who produces a monthly tonnage report based on surveys from for-hire carriers.
As you can see in the chart here, tonnage dipped following a huge January (the best month in ATA’s records) and has since prodded along until July’s big upswing:
Tonnage was up 3.7 percent from last July, ATA reported, and up 3.4 percent year-to-date compared to the same time period last year.
Meanwhile, truckload linehaul rates are now on a multi-month upward trend, outpacing both July 2014 by a few percentage points and July 2013 by 11 percentage points. Check them out here:
Though the two readings could be upticks in another wise flat — though strong and stable — year, they could point to the start of late-year surge in key trucking metrics.