American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 1.9% in October, following a decrease of 0.7% during September.
“It was good to see tonnage increase nicely in October after contracting a total of 1.6% in August and September” said ATA chief economist Bob Costello. “However, tonnage has been overall pretty flat this year, as October’s reading is just shy of January’s level.
In October, the index equaled 135.7 (2000=100), up from 133.1 in September, and just below the all-time high of 135.8 reached in January 2015.
Compared with October 2014, the SA index increased 2%, which was above the year-over-year increase of 1.6% in September. However, October’s year-over-year gain was well below the year-to-date figure through October, compared with the same period last year (3%).
The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 139.8 in October, which was 2.1% above the previous month (136.9).
“I remain concerned about the high level of inventories throughout the supply chain,” Costello added. “We recently learned that inventories throughout the supply chain and relative to sales rose in September, which is not a good sign. This will have a negative impact on truck freight volumes over the next few months."
Trucking serves as a barometer of the U.S. economy, representing 68.8% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled just under 10 billion tons of freight in 2014. Motor carriers collected $700.4 billion, or 80.3% of total revenue earned by all transport modes.