US Xpress releases trucking industry forecast; driver turnover, truckload capacity and load volumes significantly impact market
US Xpress, Inc., one of the US’ largest asset-based truckload carriers by revenue, released its September industry forecast spotlighting key economic trends and updates specific to the trucking industry. Three key insights include:
Rising Driver Turnover. As the economy slowly recovers, freight volumes will rise and drivers will become an increasingly precious commodity. In recent months, the industry has seen significant increases in driver turnover, which is exacerbated by lower CDL school enrollment and the recently launched Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse.
Diminishing Truckload Capacity. Carrier bankruptcies nearly quadrupled from 2018 to 2019 and continually rising insurance premiums will further hobble small carriers. Concurrently, new truck orders have been on a downtrend until just recently. But even this recent uptick is significantly below most analysts’ calculated replacement demand level.Considerable acceleration in orders will be needed to keep pace with freight volumes.
Overwhelming Load Volumes. Freight has continued to flow at unprecedented levels with tender volumes significantly higher than just a year ago. The pandemic has resulted in an absence of volume seasonality, where the market skipped over the usual summer lull. Many industry analysts also expect elevated freight volumes to persist through 2021.
Each of these three themes will greatly influence trucking rates over the next four to six quarters. It’s becoming increasingly clear that high tide conditions will persist for a long while, so shippers and carriers will have to plan—and act—accordingly.—Eric Fuller, President and CEO, US Xpress