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US Trucking Sector Faces Continued Challenges Amid Q1 Slump in Volume and Spending

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US Trucking Sector Faces Continued Challenges Amid Q1 Slump in Volume and Spending

As the US trucking market continues to grapple with uncertainty, the latest data from US Bank’s Freight Payment Index for the first quarter delivers somber news, highlighting a persistent decline in both shipment volume and freight spending.

Shipment volume declined by 7.8% from the previous quarter and a substantial 21.6% year-on-year, while freight spending worsened, dropping by 16.8% from Q4 23 and 27.9% from Q1 23. Bobby Holland, Director of Freight Business Analytics at US Bank, remarked on the prolonged challenges facing the industry, citing the eighth consecutive quarter of year-on-year volume decreases and the fifth consecutive quarter of spending declines.

Read also: US Intermodal Gains Momentum Amid Trucking Challenges

The decline was widespread across all regions of the US, with winter storms and the typical post-peak season lull exacerbating the situation. Notably, the US northeast experienced the most significant downturn, with shipments falling by 17.4% from Q4 23 and 33.9% year on year, accompanied by a slump in spending of 23.8% and 34.8%, respectively.

Despite recent improvements in economic indicators such as rising imports and retail sales projections, trucking operators and analysts remain cautious due to persistent overcapacity in the market. The south-east recorded its 12th consecutive quarterly decline, signaling ongoing challenges despite positive signs in the broader economy.

While economic indicators suggest a potential turnaround, the US trucking sector faces a long road to recovery, with mounting casualties expected as unsustainable pricing dynamics continue to pressure industry players.