ATA predicts dominant decade for trucking

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Trucking will increase its share of the nation’s freight pool and continue to dominate freight movement into the next decade, according to an American Trucking Associations forecast.

“Our share of total freight revenue will approach 88 percent by the end of the forecast period,” said Bill Graves, ATA president and CEO.

ATA’s U.S. Freight Transportation Forecast to 2016 predicts growth for most sectors and greater cooperation between modes. Total annual tonnage for trucking is expected to increase to 13 billion tons, giving it 69.1 percent of the total tonnage market by 2016.

Trucking will maintain its dominant role in freight transport because it quickly can respond to the needs of the marketplace, Graves said.

The ATA forecast sees the U.S. becoming more of a finished-goods producer.

“We’re not into producing raw materials as much as we used to,” said Bob Costello, ATA chief economist. “We’re now importing them. Look at the auto industry. They’re now bringing in the raw steel and making the individual parts. They’ve got overseas resources that are making the nuts and bolts and other stuff.”

Prepared for the ATA by Global Insight, the U.S. Freight Transportation Forecast to 2016 covers all freight transportation modes, foreign trade, consumer spending, agricultural production and regional economic growth. Predictions are made for the economy, oil prices, inflation, interest rates, foreign economies, the dollar, offshore outsourcing and taxes.