Refrigeratedtransporter 3110 Ata Tonnage Jan 2018

Year starts off solidly for truck tonnage with index advancing 2%

Feb. 21, 2018
See why ATA's truck freight figures remained solid in January, normally a soft month for tonnage.

American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index moved up 2% in January 2018 after dropping 0.3% in December. In January, the index equaled 111.6 (2015=100), up from 109.4 in December.

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

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 gained 3.8% over 2016.

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

“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,” said Bob Costello, ATA chief economist. “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.”

Trucking serves as a barometer of the US economy, representing 70.6% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled nearly 10.5 billion tons of freight in 2016. Motor carriers collected $676.2 billion, or 79.8% of total revenue earned by all transport modes.

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