After a significant dip during the recent recession and the mild recovery that followed, the US freight economy is projected to grow significantly in the years ahead, according to the American Trucking Associations’ (ATA) 'US Freight Transportation Forecast to 2023.'
The forecast – a product of collaboration between ATA, IHS Global Insight and Martin Labbe Associates – lays out the current state of the freight economy where trucking is the leading mode of transportation and projects an even more robust role for trucks and trailers in the future.
“The trucking industry continues to dominate the freight transportation industry in terms of both tonnage and revenue, comprising 67 per cent of tonnage and 81per cent of revenue in 2011,” ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello wrote in this year’s forecast.
Overall, total freight tonnage is expected to grow by 21 per cent by 2023, and revenue for the freight transportation industry is projected to rise 59 per cent in that same timeframe. Trucking’s share of the tonnage market will rise over two percentage points to 69.6 per cent by 2023, while the industry’s share of freight revenues will increase to 81.7 per cent from 80.9 per cent.
In other surface modes, rail’s overall share of tonnage will fall to 15 per cent in 2023 from 15.7 per cent in the baseline year of 2011. However, intermodal tonnage will rise 6.2 per cent a year between 2012 and 2017, and then 5.4% annually through 2023.