Analysts are mixed on the 2021 trucking freight outlook, but agree that constraints exist, including tire supply. We're doing our part at CMA/Double Coin; our new highly advanced plant is producing 4,000 TBR and OTR tire units each day!
Analysts are mostly optimistic that the freight recovery that burgeoned in the back half of 2020 will continue through at least the first half of 2021, and potentially through the entire year.
As quoted in Commercial Carrier Journal, forecasting firm FTR is bullish on 2021’s freight market. “It’s hard to conceive of a scenario in which 2021 is not a good year” for freight and rates, said Avery Vise, FTR’s vice president of trucking. FTR predicts rates to climb 10% on aggregate, which includes growth in both contract and spot rates.
“Freight patterns in 2020 were unlike any other year,” said Paris Cole, CEO of Truckstop.com. He expects freight demand in 2021 to return to a more predictable and seasonal pattern – slowness in January and early February, growth into spring and early summer, and then the usual slowdown through year’s end.
“When consumption abruptly shifted from services to goods during the depths of the downturn, the trucking industry got an unexpected tailwind. Presumably when consumption shifts the other way, we will see the opposite,” he said. “We could very well see an environment characterized by strong GDP numbers yet disappointing domestic truckload freight demand – at least relative to 2020.”
Vise said the industry will experience ongoing capacity constraints, especially in terms of driver recruiting and retention. “Even if freight demand does not continue at the pace that we’ve been seeing, the capacity side will lag through most of the year,” Vise said. “From the carrier perspective, we think it’s going to be a strong year in terms of per-mile rates."
One other constraint will be the availability of TBR tires. The pandemic caused some disruption in TBR tire production, particularly early on, and overseas shipping capacity has yet to fully recover.
The good news is that our newest plant, one of the world's most advanced, is operating at full capacity, producing 4,000 TBR and OTR tires daily.
Our distribution footprint in North America has also increased with the opening (see photo below) of our state-of-the-art facility in Houston.
We are doing our very best to keep owner operators and fleets on the road to take advantage of what should be a pretty decent year in hauling freight!