ATA Truck Tonnage Index
reflects moderate growth
Apr 26, 2012 10:35 AM
The American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index rose 0.2% in March 2012 after increasing 0.5% in February. The SA index stood at 119.5 (2000=100), up from 119.3 in February. Compared with March 2011, the SA index was up 2.7%, which was the smallest year-over-year gain since December 2009.
The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 123.2 in March 2012, which was 9.1% above the previous month.
“March tonnage, and the first quarter overall, was reflective of an economy that is growing—but growing moderately,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “The pace of freight definitely slowed from the torrid pace in late 2011. Most economic indicators still look good, which will continue to support tonnage going forward.”
Costello also said the industry should not expect the rate of growth seen over the past couple of years, when tonnage grew 5.8% in both 2010 and 2011.
“Expect tonnage overall this year to be up at a more moderate rate, perhaps less than 3%, which is more in line with normal growth,” he said.
Trucking serves as a barometer of the US economy, representing 67.2% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 9 billion tons of freight in 2010. Motor carriers collected $563.4 billion, or 81.2% of total revenue earned by all transport modes.
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