Freight tonnage dropped by 1.8% in October 2006, according to the American Trucking Associations (ATA) truck tonnage index, after increasing 1.6% in September.
Bob Costello, ATA chief economist, said this latest monthly tonnage reduction put the index at its lowest level since the end of the first quarter of this year.
Overall, the ATA index has decreased 4% compared to 2005, marking the largest year-over-year decrease since February 2001. Year-to-date, the truck tonnage index is down 2.1% compared to the same period in 2005, Costello said.
“While September was better than expected, October was certainly weaker than anticipated, especially on a year-over-year basis,” Costello noted. “This fits with anecdotal reports that the traditional fall freight season was essentially non-existent this year.
“After plummeting in February and March,” he continued, “freight volumes through October have been flat on average-- as every gain since May was followed by an equal or greater loss the next month.”