ACT has released its latest For-Hire Trucking Index, which shows supply-demand balance falling to 50.1 on a seasonally adjusted basis in September, from 55.3 in August. The 8.4pp month-over-month decrease in the Volume Index more than offset the 3.2pp sequential drop in the Capacity Index, leading to an essentially balanced market by this measure.
“The September survey showed downticks across each of the volume, productivity and capacity results, though freight rates improved from August,” said Tim Denoyer, ACT Research vice president and senior analyst. “The for-hire industry has secured record contract rates this year, but accelerating Class 8 tractor production and slowing freight growth are helping to rebalance the market.”
As part of this month’s survey, ACT Research queried fleets about how much of their fleet is without a driver and whether that is above or below average. Denoyer commented, “Our respondents’ fleets are averaging about 7% unseated tractors, with 62% indicating this is above average and 24% saying the current level is normal. Just 14% told us their fleet’s unseated tractor level is below average.”
The September fleet purchase intentions reading indicated a slight uptick in equipment demand, with 55.5% respondents planning to buy trucks in the next three months. This is an increase from fleet purchase intentions at 54.7% in August. ACT Research believes that, after record year-to-date orders, this series should remain elevated as long lead-time truck orders are built and hit the highways.
ACT is publishes new and used commercial vehicle industry data, market analysis and forecasting services for the North American market, as well as the U.S. tractor-trailer market and the China commercial vehicle market.