September 28, 2009

ATA truck tonnage index rises for second straight month

Truck tonnage index rises in July and August, but ATA warns that recovery could be a long haul.

By Mark B. Solomon

The American Trucking Associations said Sept. 25 that its seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 2.1 percent in August, matching July's increase of the same magnitude. The latest gain raised the seasonally adjusted index to 104.1 (2000=100), which is the index's best reading since February 2009, the ATA said.

The so-called not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 105.8 in August, down 0.5 percent from July.

Compared with August 2008, seasonally adjusted tonnage fell 7.5 percent, which was the best year-over-year showing since November 2008. The ATA defines a "seasonally adjusted" number as one that correlates with historical seasonal activity. For example, October tonnage data would be adjusted to account for the normal uptick in traffic that occurs at the start of the holiday shipping season.

ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said the latest increase was another positive sign for the industry. "The gains in tonnage during July and August reflect a growing economy and less of an overhang in inventories," Costello said in a statement.

Costello added, however, that the pace of increase will likely moderate from the cumulative 4.3 percent gain over the last two months. "While I am optimistic that the worst is behind us, most economic indicators, including industrial output and household spending, suggest freight tonnage will exhibit moderate, and probably inconsistent, growth in the months ahead," he said.

About the Author

Mark B. Solomon
Executive Editor - News
Mark Solomon joined DC VELOCITY as senior editor in August 2008, and was promoted to his current position on January 1, 2015. He has spent more than 30 years in the transportation, logistics and supply chain management fields as a journalist and public relations professional. From 1989 to 1994, he worked in Washington as a reporter for the Journal of Commerce, covering the aviation and trucking industries, the Department of Transportation, Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court. Prior to that, he worked for Traffic World for seven years in a similar role. From 1994 to 2008, Mr. Solomon ran Media-Based Solutions, a public relations firm based in Atlanta. He graduated in 1978 with a B.A. in journalism from The American University in Washington, D.C.

More articles by Mark B. Solomon

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