To say that 2020 has been unprecedented in nearly every aspect is a gross understatement. Even the trucking industry — arguably the backbone of the country’s economy — has been hard hit by the coronavirus. Fortunately, it appears that 2021 holds significant promise for the vast majority of North America — including the trucking industry.
2021: The Transition Year
Americas Commercial Transportation (ACT) released the latest version of the North American Commercial Vehicle OUTLOOK with 2021 projected to be a transition year. The agency labeled the year as such because it’s expected that next year will see economies around the world recover from the negative impacts of COVID-19. As a result, the demand for North American commercial vehicles will continue to increase.
Rebound in 2021 Likely
While ACT’s president and senior analyst, Kenny Vieth, acknowledged that there isn’t a clearly visible forecast for 2021, he did point to several elements that could signal that a strong 2021 is ahead.
The combination of a structurally sound economy that was in place prior to the coronavirus sweeping through the country, ample government support and a great deal of pent-up demand for products and services of all types appears to be a recipe for the economy to rebound. Vieth noted that as millennials continue to mature, they will be a driving force in terms of pushing the economy forward. It’s projected that in 2021, millennials will start transitioning to other life stages that include mortgages, marriages and kids.
It’s Time to Think About 2021 Now
Even though shippers are still struggling right now, it’s imperative that they start thinking about 2021 now. Though the recovery rate is expected to be relatively slow for the rest of 2020, once the new year hits, don’t be surprised to find that 2021 starts off strong.
This means that shippers need to plan their strategy for dealing with the recovery now to avoid coming up short once the economy is in full swing once again. By continuing to use the carriers that they’ve always relied on, shippers can avoid the downfalls associated with chasing low market rates.
In spite of the generally rosy picture of 2021, there is still a great deal of uncertainty as well. No one knows if there will be a second wave of the coronavirus. In some camps, there is concern that the economy will remain at least partially stalled until test kits are widely available or a vaccine is in place.
Regardless of that uncertainty, there is a general consensus that 2021 will be a positive and fruitful year for the trucking industry as well as the country’s economy. Really, it’s no surprise because Americans always bounce back — stronger than ever — after a crisis or catastrophe.