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Seesaw pattern for truck tonnage continues

July 18, 2017
ATA data indicates truck tonnage declined in June following an increase in May.

The American Trucking Associations (ATA) for-hire truck tonnage index dropped 4.3% in June, following a 6.9% gain during May, though tonnage was up 1.3% when compared to June of 2016. 

Year-to-date, compared with the first half of 2016, the trade group said its tonnage index is up 1%. ATA also noted it revised its May tonnage increase upwards from 6.5% to 6.9%.

“After such a large spike in May, it was not surprising to see the index give back some of those gains in June,” noted Bob Costello, ATA’s chief economist, in a statement.

“However, looking back at the second quarter as a whole, tonnage was up 0.8% over the first quarter and 1.9% over the same quarter last year, so it was a solid three month period,” he stressed.

“June’s slide does not change my belief that we will continue to see moderate, albeit at times choppy, growth in truck tonnage as the year continues,” Costello added.

Research firm Stifel Capital Markets noted in its weekly Freight Transportation update that overall trucking demand was strong until the end of the second quarter, with the flatbed sector still showing significant strength despite some moderation in recent weeks.

“The big surge in freight during the May/June time frame of this year can be attributed to a few factors, most notably the drawdown in inventories over the past few months and the bumper crop of produce coming out late in California,” the firm said in its report.

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