The Forecast predicts that by 2016 trucking will increase its total annual tonnage to 13 billion tons, a figure that will represent 69.1% of all tonnage that year.
Although they won’t be the dominant force, the two fastest-growing modes over the next ten years will be rail intermodal and air transport, according to the study. During the period, overall rail tonnage is predicted to climb to 2.56 billion tons as compared to 2004’s 2.06 billion tons. Air freight and express is predicted to climb to 31.6 million tons in 2016, up from 18.1 million tons in 2004.Over the next 10 years, ATA sees the U.S. becoming more of a finished goods manufacturer, one that imports components where they are given final assembly. In turn, this will create more need for use of rail intermodal by the trucking industry, which will benefit those carriers that provide drayage, those operating in the local and short-haul markets. Rail intermodal is predicted to grow to $19 billion by 2016, up from $8.6 billion in 2004.