Freight volumes quotsoftquot due to an inventory overhang throughout the supply chain ATA added Photo by Sean KilcarrFleet Owner

ATA: Tonnage up 2% in January

ATA’s chief economist expects freight tonnage will “remain robust” in months ahead.

The American Trucking Associations reported its advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 2% in January after falling 0.3% in December. In January, the index was 111.6, up from 109.4 in December.

Compared with January 2017, the SA index jumped 8.8%, which was above December’s 7.5% year-over-year gain. For all of 2017, the index increased 3.8% over 2016.

“Last month’s gain in tonnage fit with the anecdotal reports we have been hearing from fleets – that freight was solid in what is typically a softer month,” according to Bob Costello, chief economist at ATA. “With the economy strong, the drivers of truck freight solid, and the inventory cycle in favor of motor carriers, I expect freight tonnage to remain robust in the months ahead.”

ATA said it recently revised the seasonally adjusted index back five years as part of its annual revision. In addition, ATA re-indexed the seasonally adjusted and not seasonally adjusted tonnage indexes to 2015 = 100 back to 1973.

The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 106.9 in January, which was 0.4% above the previous month (106.5).

ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys from its membership and has been doing so since the 1970s. This is a preliminary figure and subject to change.

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