The freight market is down in 2023 but the American Trucking Associations expects truck tonnage to grow to 14.2 billion tons by 2034, according to new ATA projections.
That growth will secure trucking’s U.S. position as the “dominant mover of goods,” ATA asserted.
“In this edition of [ATA’s] forecast, you will see that the trucking industry continues to dominate the freight transportation industry in terms of both tonnage and revenue, comprising 72.2% of tonnage and 79.2% of revenue in 2022,” Bob Costello, ATA chief economist, said in a news release. “That market share will continue to hold over the next decade, as the country will still rely on trucking to move the vast majority of freight.”
Among the key findings in ATA’s Freight Transportation Forecast are:
- Overall truck tonnage will grow from an estimated 11.3 billion tons this year to 14.2 billion tons in 2034. This represents 72.4% of the freight tonnage in 2023 and 72.6% of tonnage at the end of the forecast period.
- Trucking’s revenues will grow from $1.01 trillion in 2023 to $1.51 trillion in 2034, which will account for 78.8% of the freight market.
- In other modes:
- As coal and bulk petroleum shipments wane over time, rail carload tonnage will fall from 11% of total freight to 10.1% by 2034.
- Rail intermodal revenues will grow from $21.7 billion in 2023 to $35.2 billion in 2034.
- Air cargo tonnage will grow from 17.6 million tons this year to 23.7 million tons in 2034.
- Pipelines will see their share of freight tonnage grow from 9.8% in 2023 to 10.4% in 2034.
“Knowing where our industry and economy are headed is critical for decision makers,” said Chris Spear, ATA president and CEO. “This Freight Forecast should be top of mind for policymakers in Washington, Sacramento, and wherever decisions are being made that affect trucking.”