ATA sees broad-based growth in truck tonnage

As tracked by the American Trucking Assns. (ATA), truck tonnage rose again in May, but the big news is that the latest numbers indicate freight is trending up across a broader front.

 ATA stated that its latest seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 1% in May. That follows a revised 0.9% improvement in the previous month. In May, the index equaled 129.7 (2000=100) vs. 128.3 in April. The index is off just 1% from the all-time high in November 2013 (131.0), ATA noted.

Compared with May of 2013, the seasonally adjusted index went up 3.4%. While that figures is down vs. April’s 4.2% year-over-year gain, ATA pointed out that ranks as the second-largest increase so far in 2014. Year-to-date, compared with the same period last year, tonnage is up 2.9%.

 As for ATA’s not seasonally adjusted index (which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by fleets before any seasonal adjustment), it came in at 133 for May—or 1.8% above the previous month’s 130.7.

“I’m pleased at the direction of freight, highlighted by May’s fourth consecutive gain in tonnage totaling 4.5%,” commented ATA chief economist Bob Costello.

“While the year-to-date improvement is running behind last year’s robust 6.3% increase, gains this year are more broad-based,” he continued.

“It isn’t just heavy freight for sectors like tank truck and flatbed from energy and housing [activity] that are improving this year,” Costello explained. “Now, generic dry-van trailer freight is doing better as well, which wasn’t the case in 2013. This is a good sign for the economy.”

An ATA-produced video of Costello discussing tonnage can be viewed here.



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