June marked the second time this year and only the fourth time in 19 months that demand for Class 8 trucks rose faster than the supply, ACT Research Co. reported, citing its most recent for-hire trucking index.
Demand also rose in May this year. Plus, there were upticks in May, August and September of last year, according to ACT.
“Also, this is only the second time in 10 months that freight volumes [alone] showed any meaningful increase. Time will tell whether this is the beginning of a trend or a temporary or transient anomaly,” Steve Tam, ACT’s vice president, commercial vehicle sector, said in a statement.
ACT surveys about 50 fleets ranging in size from 15 to 15,000 trucks for the index.
“We appear to have slowed the process of adding trucks such that the freight growth may be faster than the decline. In essence, consuming some of that excess capacity, which is an encouraging sign,” Tam told Transport Topics.
“Also, we are starting to see some readings out of, for example American Trucking Associations’ freight stats that suggest freight is starting to get traction. In anecdotal comments we hear from the carriers — despite their warnings on second-quarter earnings — there were at least two months in the second quarter where a number of them commented on seeing some improvements in terms of freight growth,” he said.
Tam added there was still some “spottiness” in the market that was geographical as well as customer-based.
Truckers serving manufacturers not in the automotive sector are still having a hard time, he said. “That [sector] has yet to see the beginnings of growth.”
The consumer-driven shipments “are doing pretty well,” he added.