Tag Archives: truck tonnage index

Truck Tonnage Index Posts Largest Annual Gain in 13 Years

ARLINGTON, Va, Jan. 24, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index jumped 6.8% in December after rising 0.3% in November 2011.  The latest gain put the SA index at 124.5 (2000=100) in December, up from the November level of 116.6.

For all of 2011, tonnage rose 5.9% over the previous year – the largest annual increase since 1998. Tonnage for the last month of the year was 10.5% higher than December 2010, the largest year-over-year gain since July 1998. November tonnage was up 6.1% over the same month last year.

The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 116.4 in December, which was 0.8% above the previous month.

“While I’m not surprised that tonnage increased in December, I am surprised at the magnitude of the gain,” ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said.   Costello noted that it was the largest month-to-month increase since January 2005.

“Not only did truck tonnage increase due to solid manufacturing output in December, but also from some likely inventory restocking.  Inventories, especially at the retail level, are exceedingly lean, and I suspect that tonnage was higher than expected as the supply chain did some restocking during the month.” he said.

Truck Tonnage Index Fell 1.3% in July

ARLINGTON, Va., Aug. 23, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The American Trucking Associations’ advance seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index decreased 1.3% in July after rising a revised 2.6% in June 2011. June’s increase was slightly less than the 2.8% ATA reported on July 26, 2011.  The latest pullback put the SA index at 114 (2000=100) in July, down from the June level of 115.5.

The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 111 in July, which was 9% below the previous month.

Compared with July 2010, SA tonnage was up 3.9%.  In June, the tonnage index was 6.5% above a year earlier.

“We had heard that freight weakened from a robust June, that that was true,” ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said.  Tonnage has fallen in three of the last four months on a sequential basis.

“Despite a solid June, our truck tonnage index fits with an economy that is growing very slowly,” Costello noted.  “The good news is that tonnage continues to increase on a year-over-year basis, but it is likely that the rate of growth will moderate in the second half of the year.”

Note on the impact of trucking company failures on the index: Each month, ATA asks its membership the amount of tonnage each carrier hauled, including all types of freight.  The indexes are calculated based on those responses.  The sample includes an array of trucking companies, ranging from small fleets to multi-billion dollar carriers. When a company in the sample fails, we include its final month of operation and zero it out for the following month, with the assumption that the remaining carriers pick up that freight.  As a result, it is close to a net wash and does not end up in a false increase.  Nevertheless, some carriers are picking up freight from failures and it may have boosted the index. Due to our correction mentioned above however, it should be limited.

Trucking serves as a barometer of the U.S. economy, representing 67.2% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 9 billion tons of freight in 2010.  Motor carriers collected $563.4 billion, or 81.2% of total revenue earned by all transport modes.