Trucking Continues to Dominate Freight Movement

Dec. 18, 2007
Trucking will increase its share of the nation's freight pool and continue to dominate domestic freight movement into the next decade

Trucking will increase its share of the nation's freight pool and continue to dominate domestic freight movement into the next decade, the American Trucking Associations reports in its newly released “U.S. Freight Transportation Forecast to ... 2018.”

Despite the rough economic times for the freight transportation industry in late 2006 and 2007, the Forecast, which reports on the present and future of the entire U.S. freight transportation industry, predicts growth for all modes, but an even greater role for trucking in moving the nation's economy.

"We're an important part of the quality of life in this country," said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves. "The United States achieved economic greatness with the help of a state-of-the-art transportation system. And trucks will continue to lead the freight landscape."

The Forecast projects trucking's total tonnage share to rise to 69.7 percent in 2012 and to 70 percent by 2018 from 69 percent in 2006. Above-average growth in key truck commodities and the inherent flexibility and on-time delivery associated with trucking is driving industry growth.

Although trucks will remain the largest mode of freight transport, other transport modes also are expected to carry more freight as overall tonnage in the United States increases.

The Forecast, produced for ATA by Global Insight, projects robust growth in rail intermodal and air freight. These two modes represent the fastest-growing segments during the forecast period, although neither mode will have more than 2.0 percent of the total tonnage market by 2018.

Total rail tonnage (including carloads and intermodal units) will edge up to 14.7 percent of domestic tonnage in 2018 from 14.6 percent in 2006. Water passage tonnage, which accounted for 6.5 percent of the domestic transport market in 2006, is expected to expand by 1.6 percent a year, on average, over the next six years and 1.5 percent a year thereafter through 2018.

Pipeline transport, whose future volumes are tied to petroleum and natural gas demand, is expected to grow 1.6 percent per year, on average, between now and 2012, according to the Forecast. Pipeline's share of total tonnage, however, will drop to 9.5 percent in 2012 from 9.8 percent in 2006.

In addition to key findings and projections for all freight transport modes, the Forecast provides extensive analysis of the energy sector, including projections for crude oil prices. The trucking industry estimates that it will spend more than $110 billion for diesel fuel in 2007.

For media inquiries regarding the “U.S. Freight Transportation Forecast to... 2018”, please contact Tiffany Wlazlowski at 703-838-1717. It can be purchased by calling 800-282-5463 or through ATA's MarketPlace.