Trucking is Booming: ATA Releases Cargo Estimates for Next Decade


The American Trucking Association (ATA) released their annual Freight Transportation Forecast last week. And based on the report, the future looks strong for the trucking industry.

According to Bob Costello, ATA Chief Economist, “America’s trucking industry, and the overall freight transportation industry, are poised to experience strong growth over the next decade as the country’s economy and population grow”.

Costello went on to say “Our annual Freight Forecast is a valuable look at where we are headed so leaders in business and government can make important decisions about investments and policy.” Let’s review the ATA predictions and what this means for the future of trucking.

ATA Freight Transportation Forecast

The annual report issued by ATA typically analyzes existing trends and reliably predicts their future trajectory.

For example, according to the ATA, the trucking industry needed about 60,800 more drivers at the end of last year. That 2018 estimate is about 11,000 drivers higher than the estimate in 2017, showing that the so-called driver shortage continues to be an issue for the industry.

Based on the ATA’s analysis past market activity for rail, air, water, road, and pipeline transportation, their report shows that 71% of all freight will be moved by trucks by the end of 2019. That makes trucking the most important industry and most reliable way to move freight.

To put that percentage into perspective,truckers are likely to transport about 11 billion tons before 2020. In addition, ATA reports total freight tonnage moved will increase to 14 billion tons by 2030.

While total tonnage increases by 26%, the trucking industry may see their share of that total diminish. Estimations show that the trucking industry will be responsible for 69% of all that freight, rather than 71%. Nevertheless, the total number of tons hauled by truckers will increase.

And as a result, ATA projects a hefty 54% increase in revenue by 2030.

To put this into perspective, in 2018 the trucking industry made approximately $797 billion. And according to the ATA, trucking total revenue in 2030 will increase to a very respectable 1.6 trillion.

The ATA report shows that the trucking industry has a long future ahead of it.