ACT Research’s latest For-Hire Trucking Index shows the supply-demand balance falling to 55.3 on a seasonally adjusted basis in August, from 56.9 in July. The 3.9pp decrease in the Volume Index more than offsets a 2.5pp decrease in the Capacity Index, relative to July, ACT said.
“The August result is below the 2017/2018 average of 61, and it appears that a gradual balancing is taking place as the industry responds to strong demand by adding capacity,” said Tim Denoyer, ACT Research’s vice president and senior analyst. “At the same time, a volume slowdown is increasingly evident.
“While expectations seem high for another strong year of rate increases in 2019, both accelerating Class 8 tractor production and slowing freight growth are likely to loosen the supply-demand balance from here.”
As part of this month’s survey, ACT queried fleets about how peak season is progressing and their expectations for the holidays.
“The majority of responders indicated that they are quite busy and anticipate a very active holiday season,” Denoyer said. “One even noted that it is ‘going to be hard to keep current customers happy.’”
The August fleet-purchase intentions reading indicated a downtick in equipment demand, with only about 55% of respondents planning to buy trucks in the next three months. This is down from fleet-purchase intentions around 60% in July. After record year-to-date orders, this series should remain strong as long as the trucks that have been ordered are built.