You might remember that at the beginning of 2020 we compiled annual reports from the American Trucking Associations (ATA) all the way back from 2003. The ATA generates a new report for the year prior in the middle of summer, and it is that time of year again: the ATA has a new report.
The price of the full report ranges from $125 to $425, but the ATA likes to give some of the statistics for free to entice people to delve deeper. Here is the information the ATA has given out:
- The trucking industry generated $791.7 billion in 2019, which is a decrease from 2018, but only by less than one percent.
- The percent of the nation’s freight by value of the cargo transported was 80.4%, an increase of .1% from last year.
- The two facts above indicate that the lower industry revenue was not caused by the trucking industry becoming weaker, but rather that consumer spending was slightly down compared to 2018. Adjusting for the decrease in overall consumer spending, the trucking industry grew.
- Total weight hauled in 2019 was 11.84 billion tons, an increase in total hauling by 3%.
- More weight and lower total revenue points to more inexpensive goods and materials being hauled compared to last year. For example, fewer flatscreen televisions and more tomatoes.
- On top of hauling 3% more weight, the share of total freight weight for trucks went up to 72.5%, which is 2% larger than the 71.4% in 2018. A 0% change in truck’s weight share would show other transportation (boat, plane, and train) weight growing at the same proportion as trucks, and a negative change in share would show others increasing their freight weight at a faster rate than trucks.
- If 71.4% of total weight in 2018 was 11.49 billion tons, then the weight of others in 2018 was 4.60 tons. If 72.5% of total weight in 2019 was 11.84 billion tons, the weight of others in 2019 was 4.49 tons. The other logistics categories are shrinking, while trucking is growing.
- Finally, the fact that total weight change for trucks (3%) was a larger number than total share change (2%) shows that the amount of weight truck hauling gained is larger than the amount others lost. The total weight transported across all transportation industries increased, which can also be proven by dividing trucking weight by trucking share of nation’s weight hauled to find total weight hauled.
This is a lot of statistics to swallow, so here are some graphs to help illustrate the statistics.
Throughout 2019, trucking only became stronger and stronger. It might have lost a little revenue, but its share of both weight and total revenue for shipping increased, meaning it is becoming an even more preferred method of transporting goods across the nation.
What will certainly be interesting to see is the 2020 statistics. Will the spike in demand from before and after the pandemic be enough to keep the trucking industry on course to stability? How will other transportation methods react to the pandemic, when compared to trucks? Only time will tell, about a year from now, when the next ATA report comes out.