ATA Truck Tonnage Index
declines 2.9% in February
Mar 23, 2011 10:29 AM
The American Trucking Associations’ advance seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index decreased 2.9% in February 2011 after increasing a revised 3.5% in January.
This latest drop put the SA index at 113.3 (2000=100) in February; in January, the SA index equaled 116.6. During December 2010 and January 2011, the SA tonnage index jumped a total of 6.1%. The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 102 in February, down 2.8% from the previous month.
Compared with February 2010, tonnage climbed 4.2%, although this was smaller than January’s 7.6% year-over-year increase. Through the first two months of 2011, tonnage is up 5.9% versus the same two months in 2010.
ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said winter storms in February probably played a role in the latest reduction and that he wasn’t concerned about the decrease.
“Tonnage is not going to increase every month, and in general I’m very pleased with freight volumes early this year,” he said. Costello also called the anecdotal reports from motor carriers are very encouraging. “I’m hearing a significant amount of positive news from fleets and that the largest concern continues to be the price of diesel fuel—not freight levels,” he said.
Trucking serves as a barometer of the US economy, representing 68% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 8.8 billion tons of freight in 2009. Motor carriers collected $544.4 billion, or 81.9% of total revenue earned by all transport modes.
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