“Perfect Storm” Drives Upgrade in Truck Forecasts

By Mike Osenga25 September 2020

In the release of its recent Commercial Vehicle Dealer Digest, ACT Research reported that an unforeseen robustness of a perfect storm of positives in late spring and summer, following the initial shock of COVID-19 shutdowns and other mitigation efforts, has resulted in sharp upgrades in commercial vehicle (CV) expectations since May.

“There have been a number of factors that have contributed to significantly better freight outcomes, in spite of the dramatic economic downturn that continues to negatively impact significant swaths of the US economy. One of the biggest surprises is illustrated by real personal consumption,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst.

“Since consumers couldn’t spend on experiences like vacations, sporting events and concerts, they put that money to work buying goods: Summer vacation doesn’t fit into a truck, but stuff does.”

Specifically regarding how the CV industry is doing, Vieth commented, “On top of the consistent roll-out of good economic numbers from consumer activity, the sustained rally to record highs in dry van truckload spot rates reflects the sizeable piece of the driver supply that was sidelined in April. The resulting rise in carrier profits bodes well for commercial vehicle demand. Even in the face of significant parked capacity right now, a case can be made for a steady, if historically modest, Class 8 market rebound from here.”

The report, which combines ACT’s proprietary data analysis from a variety of industry sources, paints a picture of trends impacting the transportation and commercial vehicle markets. This monthly report includes a relevant but high-level forecast summary, complete with transportation insights for use by commercial vehicle dealer executives, reviewing top-level considerations such as for-hire indices, freight, heavy and medium duty segments, the total US trailer market, used truck sales information, and a review of the US macro economy.

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