Freight tonnage will grow more than 26 percent and freight revenue by 68 percent by 2020, according to a study sponsored by the American Trucking Associations.
IHS Global Insight, which conducted the study, projects truck transportation share of that tonnage will increase from 68.8 percent in 2008 to 70.9 percent by 2020. Rail’s overall share is expected to slip from 14.9 percent to 14.7 percent. Air cargo tonnage is estimated to grow 52 percent from 14.5 million tons in 2008 to 22 million tons in 2020.
Underpinning the forecast are U.S. manufacturing output projections. Despite being in the midst of a sharp contraction, output will grow at a rate of 3.5 percent in the second half of the forecast period, IHS estimates. The main driver of that growth, IHS asserts, will be high-tech production growth, which is projected to exceed 15 percent per year from 2015-2020.
“Like many other industries, trucking is experiencing a very difficult time during the current economic recession,” said ATA President and CEO William P. Graves. “Yet, all signs point to a strong, vital, long-term future for our industry.”