For all of 2016 however tonnage ended up 25 higher versus 2015 ATA said Photo by Sean Kilcarr for Fleet Owner

For all of 2016, however, tonnage ended up 2.5% higher versus 2015, ATA said. (Photo by Sean Kilcarr for Fleet Owner)

ATA: Tonnage took a dive in December

Yet trade group sees “positive signs” for freight volumes in 2017, most notably via reduced inventories.

The American Trucking Associations (ATA) said its for-hire truck tonnage index plunged 6.2% in December following a revised 8.4% jump during November – the continuation of the “up and down” month-to-month swing in freight volumes experienced for much of 2016, noted Bob Costello, ATA’s chief economist, in a statement.

“I don’t recall a year in recent memory with so many large swings on a month-to-month basis,” he said.

However, while the trade group’s tonnage index ended up down 0.7% in December 2016 when compared to December 2015, for all of 2016, tonnage ended up 2.5% higher versus 2015.

Costello added that, “looking ahead,” he sees some “positive signs” for truck tonnage.

“This includes the continued spending by consumers, larger wage gains, and solid home construction,” he noted. “Factory output will continue to be soft, but it should be better this year than last year. And most importantly, the supply chain continues to make progress reducing bloated inventories, which will help truck volumes going forward.”

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