ATA Forecast: Tonnage to grow, freight revenues ‘surge’ through 2025

Updated Jul 23, 2014

American Trucking Associations has released the latest edition of its look at the future of freight, and that future is bright: continued growth for not just the trucking industry, but for the freight economy overall.

Overall freight tonnage will grow 23.5 percent from 2013 to 2025 (Slide 1) and freight revenues will surge 72 percent, according to the ATA U.S. Freight Transportation Forecast to 2025, a collaboration between ATA and IHS Global Insight.

“We continue to see growth for the entire freight economy – but we also see that trucking will maintain its position as the nation’s dominant mode of freight transportation,” says ATA Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Bob Costello.

But carriers will need to adapt to thrive.

Freight transportation – given the evolution in manufacturing and distribution, along with regional growth patterns and an increasing pace of technological change – will become even more complex, “which should benefit those for-hire carriers that have become true logistics experts,” the report notes.

“This does not mean that for-hire carriers will have clear sailing. Competition from other modes and between trucking companies will remain intense. Freight haulers are not likely to surrender market share without a fight,” the report reads. “While we do expect some migration of freight from private fleets to logistics experts to continue, the easiest gains are clearly behind us.”

The report points to “non-traditional” for-hire carriers such as UPS and FedEx, which have been expanding their influence in market segments that were once dominated by more traditional trucking companies. And these non- traditional national carriers are now facing competition from so-called ‘Super Regional’ package haulers.

Additionally, an expanded Panama Canal will alter product flows in the years ahead, increasing freight haul opportunities for some carriers while decreasing them for others.

Some specific findings in this edition of the Forecast include:

  • Trucking’s share of freight tonnage will grow from 69.1 percent in 2013 to 71.4 percent in 2025;
  • Truckload volume will grow 3.5 percent a year through 2019, then 1.2 percent annually from 2020 to 2025 – however, truckload carriers will make greater use of intermodal rail for intermediate- and long-distance hauls. (Slide 3)
  • Rail intermodal tonnage will grow 5.5 percent annually through 2019 and 5.1 percent a year through 2025.
  • Railroad market share will, however, shrink from 14.5 percent of all tonnage in 2013 to 13.8 percent in 2025.
  • Regional breakdowns of where freight moves in the United States. (Slide 2)

Forecast can be purchased as a bound volume or downloadable PDF at or by calling 1-866-821-3468. Purchasers of Forecast are also invited to participate in a complimentary webinar with Costello later this year.