Big truck sales mean big economic growth, but ageing infrastructure costing billions

Big truck sales are accelerating due to improving economic activity. According to Americas Commercial Transportation (ACT) Research, Class 8 truck builds rose to a two-year high in September. Solid economic growth is supporting trucking activity growth, but overall the industry is suffering due to America’s out-of-date infrastructure.

An efficient trucking industry is paramount for the U.S. economy. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, more than $1 out of every $10 produced in the U.S. GDP is related to transportation activity. Data compiled by the American Trucking Association suggests trucks carry 70% of the nation’s freight (by weight).

“Freight and rate data clearly show the convergence of improving economic activity, hurricanes, and ELD adoption on trucking industry capacity relative to freight activity,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT Research’s president and senior analyst.

While trucking is the backbone of the U.S. economy, out-of-date infrastructure is costing the industry $49.6 billion annually as trucks bottleneck along roads across the nation, according to The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI). ATRI collected GPS data to support the Freight Performance Measures (FPM) Initiative, and identified congestion at 250 truck oriented locations. These bottlenecks, according to the ATRI, are slowing down the movement of goods, and decreasing the sector’s efficiency.

Infrastructure spending was a cornerstone of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Last week, Trump pitched tax reform to truckers in Pennsylvania.