As pandemic lockdowns continue to ease, booming demand for freight transportation has pushed orders for new, Class 8 trucks over the last six months near its all-time high, according to a report released Friday from ACT Research.
Fleets have seen rising freight rates caused by constrained freight capacity, and so are rushing to invest in a hot market, pushing truck demand near its peak in the six-month period ending October 2018, the Columbus, Indiana-based firm said.
ACT described the market as “not quite as good as it gets yet, but awfully close,” saying it expects growth trends to continue as the U.S. economy heads toward a red-hot forecast of 6.4% gross domestic product (GDP) growth in 2021.
“Unlike that October 2018 period, where the seeds of the cycle’s fall had already been planted with tariffs and trade wars, the economy is carrying considerable pent-up industrial and consumer demand with stimulus program(s) adding fuel to the fire,” Kenny Vieth, ACT Research’s president and senior analyst, said in a release. “While freight growth is expected to moderate, as consumer spending patterns begin to revert to more traditional levels of goods spending relative to services, both GDP and freight activity are expected to remain elevated.”
The growth spurt also applies to the smaller, medium-duty truck segment, which hasn’t seen such demand since 2006, ACT said.
“With the economy growing in all the right places, freight rates and carrier profits are pushing into record territory. In response, Class 8 orders the past two quarters have driven rapid backlog growth. Stating the obvious, perhaps, the supply chain’s ability to respond will be the key determinant of commercial vehicle production in 2021.”
ACT Research: Net Class 8 Orders Nearing ‘Best Ever’ Statushttps://t.co/Bng0Tnq42V— ACT Research (@actresearch) April 16, 2021