ATA’s Truck Tonnage
Index climbs in February
for four months in a row
Mar 20, 2013 9:26 AM
The American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index rose 0.6% in February 2013 after increasing 1% in January. The 1% gain in January was revised down from a 2.4% increase ATA reported February 19, 2013.
Tonnage has now increased for four straight months, which hasn’t happened since late 2011. Over the past four months, tonnage gained a total of 7.7%. In February, the SA index equaled 123.6 (2000=100) versus 123.0 in January. The highest level on record was December 2011 at 124.3. Compared with February 2012, the SA index was up a solid 4.2%, just below January’s 4.6% year-over-year gain. Year-to-date, versus the same period in 2012, the tonnage index is up 4.4%. In 2012, tonnage increased 2.3% from 2011.
The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 113.5 in February, which was 5.5% below the previous month (120.1).
“Fitting with several other key economic indicators, truck tonnage is up earlier than we anticipated this year,” said Bob Costello, ATA chief economist. “While I think this is a good sign for the industry and the economy, I’m still concerned that freight tonnage will slow in the months ahead as the federal government sequester continues and households finish spending their tax returns. A little longer-term, I think the economy and the industry are poised for a more robust recovery.”
Trucking serves as a barometer of the US economy, representing 67% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 9.2 billion tons of freight in 2011. Motor carriers collected $603.9 billion, or 80.9% of total revenue earned by all transport modes.
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