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Saturday, November 28, 2020

This is the largest year-over-year drop in container imports since the Great Recession- Tim Denoyer

COLUMBUS, IN – ACT Research released the December installment of the ACT Freight Forecast, U.S. Rate and Volume OUTLOOK report covering the truckload, intermodal, LTL and last mile sectors.

The ACT Freight Forecast provides three-year forecasts for volumes and contract rates for the truckload, less-than-truckload and intermodal segments of the transportation industry, and for the truckload spot market, the report forecasts the next twelve months. The Freight Forecast provides unmatched detail on the future of freight rates, helping businesses across the supply chain plan for the future with greater certainty.

Freight - Inbound Loaded Containers 12-10-19

Tim Denoyer, ACT Research’s Vice President and Senior Analyst, said, “This is the largest year-over-year drop in container imports since the Great Recession, aside from holiday timing. While partly due to the comparison against pre-tariff inventory building last year, we see evidence that trade issues will continue to drag the freight cycle through the mud. We’ve been forecasting a lengthy freight recession, but October imports, down 8% year-over-year, and Q4 rail volumes, down 7% year-over-year, are missing low expectations. In addition to a turn for the worse in our Spot Leading Indicator, this led us to modestly lower our spot rate forecasts for the first half of 2020.”

Freight - Rail Volumes Table 12-10-19

ACT Research also lowered Class 8 tractor sales forecasts today, supporting the beginning of the bottoming process for truckload rates, and this month’s report provides analysis of the factors that could pull forward the eventual rate recovery, from both a spot and a contract perspective.

He continued, “We expect capacity to rebalance over the course of 2020, but we caution not to jump to the conclusion that capacity is tightening because of carrier failures. While our thoughts go out to the affected employees, even the largest bankruptcy in truckload history this week accounts for just 0.2% of the active fleet, or about 3% of the Class 8 tractor capacity that was added over the past year, and the equipment will be remarketed.”