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Heavy-duty

ACT Research For-Hire Trucking Index highlights driver shortage

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David Sickels is the Associate Editor of Tire Review and Fleet Equipment magazines. He has a history of working in the media, marketing and automotive industries in both print and online.

The latest release of ACT Research’s For-Hire Trucking Index, with August data, showed a continuing tight trucking market, with volume and rate surges ongoing and driver availability deteriorating.

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August’s Volume Index rose to 67.9 (SA), and productivity was at 67.8. With capacity and driver availability in contraction territory, at 48.9 and 32.0, respectively, the combination of strong demand and tight supply pushed the Pricing Index up to 66.4, a new two-year high.

For-Hire-Supply-Demand-9-23-20

Tim Denoyer, ACT Research’s vice president and senior analyst commented, “The average age of U.S. truck drivers is 55, and while we usually have some number of drivers near retirement who will just participate in peak rates, the calculus is different this year. Driver supply should improve from here, but gradually, as driver schools are still challenged by social distancing. We expect driver pay to start increasing to address the shortage, but this process takes time. Meanwhile, the acute tightness of the past few months isn’t likely to ease much.”

Denoyer elaborated, “This month, feedback from carriers suggests that ‘mini-bids’ may shorten the lag between spot and contract rates in the coming months.”

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