Challenging (Not Necessarily Bad) Year Predicted for Trucking Activity

Denise Rondini,

The economic activity affecting trucking could see a challenging year, according to Bob Dieli, president and founder of RDLB Inc., an economic research and management consulting firm, speaking at the Heavy Duty Aftermarket Dialogue in Las Vegas on Jan. 28.

But Dieli was quick to add that challenging does not necessarily mean bad.


Truckable Economic Activity is MacKay & Company’s proprietary measure of trucking activity, designed to measure all types of economic activity that move by truck, providing a more industry-applicable economic indicator than the broader Gross Domestic Product.

Dieli expects supply chain issues to dominate. in part because of trade and tariffs matters, but also because of structural issues that already exist inside the industry.

At this time last year, he pointed out, the one area of TEA that he had concerns about was the government piece. This year, he has concerns about the investment, export, and import sectors. He believes these factors could put as much as 50 percent of TEA at risk. The concern with exports is illustrated by what happened when the U.S. imposed a 10 percent tariff on steel from China. China then imposed a 25 percent retaliatory tariff on soybeans. China was a major market for U.S. soybean imports. On average, food exports account for 10 percent of total exports. In addition, imports of nonautomotive consumer goods account for 25 percent of truckable imports.