ATA March Truck Tonnage
Index rises; level highest
tallied since November '08
May 3, 2010 9:41 AM
The American Trucking Associations’ advance seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 0.4% in March 2010 after a revised 0.3% decrease in February. The latest improvement put the SA index at 109.2 (2000=100), which is the highest level since November 2008.
The not seasonally adjusted index, representing the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 116.4 in March 2010, up 19.1% from the previous month.
Compared with March 2009, SA tonnage jumped 7.5%, which was the fourth consecutive year-over-year gain and the largest increase since January 2005. For the first quarter of 2010, SA tonnage was up 4.9% versus the same period in 2009.
ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said he is getting more optimistic about the motor carrier industry’s recovery.
“Freight is moving in the right direction, and I continue to hear from motor carriers that both the demand and supply situations are steadily improving,” he said.
Costello attributed the first-quarter improvement in tonnage to the growing economy and to a slight inventory build after some sectors slashed inventories by too much in 2009.
“For most fleets, freight volumes feel better than reported tonnage because the supply situation, particularly in the truckload sector, is turning quickly,” he said.
Trucking serves as a barometer of the US economy, representing nearly 69% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 10.2 billion tons of freight in 2008. Motor carriers collected $660.3 billion, or 83.1% of total revenue earned by all transport modes.
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