A trucking industry economic report shows for-hire trucking boomed in 2018, with total revenues of $796.7 billion compared to $700.1 billion in 2017.
Trucks also carried 11.49 billion tons of freight in 2018, which amounted to 71.4% of all freight hauled in the United States. In all, the industry’s revenue made up 80.3% of the country’s freight bill.
The annuual report, titled American Trucking Trends 2019, was compiled and is offered for sale by American Trucking Associations.
“ATA believes good decisions are based on good data, and Trends is full of strong data, which is why it finds a home on the desks of elected officials, regulators and executives across the supply chain,” said ATA President Chris Spear.
ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello, also stresses that “2018 was a year of dynamic growth for the trucking industry.”
In 2018 there were 7.8 million people employed in trucking-related jobs, including 3.5 million professional drivers, with total employment up 100,000 from the previous year. Women make up 6.6% of truck drivers and minorities account for 40.4% of the total.
Most for-hire carriers in the industry are small companies – 91.3% of fleets operate six or fewer trucks and 97.4% operate 20 or fewer.
Also, the for-hire truckload revenue per mile index rose 15.9% in 2018 from the previous year. The number of U.S. truck registrations, both for private fleet and commercial vehicles, rose by 3.7% from 2016 to 2017, while total U.S. truck sales increased 6.3% from 2017 to 2018.
Trade – especially with Mexico and Canada – is very important to trucking. Trucks moved 67.4% of surface freight between the U.S. and Canada, up 3.6% in 2018, and 83.5% of cross-border trade with Mexico, up 10.2% from the previous year. ATA is a vocal supporter of the U.S-Mexico-Canada Agreement being deliberated by Congress.
Chem Indicator Declines in July
The Chemical Activity Barometer, a leading economic indicator created by the American Chemistry Council, eased 0.2% in July on a three- month moving average (3MMA) basis, following three months of gains in March-May and weak months in the winter.
On a year-over-year (Y/Y) basis, the barometer fell 0.2 % 3MMA. ACC also reported that the CAB reading for June was revised downward by 0.39 points and for May by 0.09 points (AA, 7-15-19, P. 3).
The council also reports that the diffusion index rose to 65% in July. This index marks the number of positive contributors relative to the total number of indicators monitored.
“A pattern of fluctuating barometer readings – months up followed by months down – indicates late-cycle activity,” says Kevin Swift, chief economist at ACC.
“The CAB reading continues to signal moderate gains in U.S. commercial and industrial activity through late 2019, but rising volatility suggests change may be on the way,” he adds.
The CAB consists of four primary components, each consisting of a variety of indicators: production; equity prices; product prices; and inventories combined with other indicators.
Production-related indicators in June were slightly positive. Trends in construction-related resins, pigments and related performance chemistry were mixed and suggest few gains in housing activity.
Plastic resins used in packaging and for consumer and institutional applications were positive. Performance chemistry was positive and U.S. exports were mixed. Equity prices slipped this month, while product and input prices rose. Inventory and other indicators were positive.
Research Studies Industrial Trucks
Researchers at Binghamton University of New York are working to develop a new energy storage solution for warehouse energy management.
They say the solution is expected to combine the deployment of solar panels, a stationary energy storage system and lithium-ion batteries on forklift trucks – all aimed at reducing energy costs for warehouse operators.
Funded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, the project will allow researchers to work with forklift manufacturer The Raymond Corp. to develop an economically viable storage demonstration project.
The project is designed to demonstrate why a behind-the-meter storage system and controllable forklift charging can be beneficial for warehouse owners and the utility grid, the researchers say.
Electric forklift trucks are traditionally powered by lead-acid batteries, which can have an extended recharge time of up to eight hours. In many high- use warehouses, several of these shifts may overlap where each forklift truck may have two or three batteries utilized per truck – one in use, one on recharge and one cooling down in storage.
Lithium-ion batteries’ fast-charging feature may cause significant energy demands to warehouse owners during peak times, which is why this project was developed, the researchers point out.
“Our partnership stemmed from the manufacturing industry’s growing need for more sustainable, more controllable resources,” Raymond CEO Michael Field says.
“By implementing lithium-ion batteries into more forklifts, our customers will see the same high- quality products but with overall energy consumption reduction due to the ability to charge at nearly 100% efficiency and reduced costs, on account of the batteries having a longer lifespan.”