Refrigeratedtransporter 3171 Ata Tonnage Mar 2018

Truck freight tonnage index figures stay solid despite March decrease

April 25, 2018
Learn why truck freight tonnage remains solid despite March 2018 index figures dropping 1.1%.

American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index declined 1.1% in March 2018 after easing 0.8% in February. In March, the index equaled 110 (2015=100), down from 111.2 in February.

ATA revised the February decline from the originally reported 2.6% to 0.8%.

Compared with March 2017, the SA index jumped 6.3%, which was below February’s 7.7% year-over-year gain but still well above 2017’s annual increase. For all of 2017, the index increased 3.8% over 2016. In the first quarter of 2018, tonnage rose 0.9% and 7.4% from the previous quarter and a year earlier, respectively.

The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 114.6 in March, which was 12.9% above the previous month (101.5).

“Despite a softer March and February, truck freight tonnage remains solid as exhibited in the year-over-year increase of 6.3%,” said Bob Costello, ATA chief economist. “While I expect the pace of growth to continue moderating in the months ahead, if for no other reason than year-over-year comparisons will become more difficult as tonnage snapped back in May of 2017, the levels of freight will remain good going forward.”

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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