According to data analyzed by the American Trucking Associations (ATA), for–hire truck tonnage finished 2015 up 2.6% over 2014 levels, with a 1% hike in truck tonnage last December balancing out a 0.9% decline in November.
However, ATA’s Chief Economist Bob Costello sounded a note of concern for despite tonnage ending 2015 “on a strong note,” it wasn’t strong for the year as a whole.
“With year-over-year gains averaging just 1.2% over the last four months, there was a clear deceleration in truck tonnage,” he said in a statement. “At the expense of sounding like a broken record, I remain concerned about the high level of inventories throughout the supply chain.”
Costello emphasized that total business inventory-to-sales record is at the highest level in over a decade, excluding the Great Recession period, which will have a negative impact on truck freight volumes over the next few months at least.
“This inventory cycle is overriding any strength from consumer spending and housing at the moment,” he added.