ATA reports spike in Truck Tonnage Index

The American Trucking Associations’ (ATA) advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 0.4 per cent in November to 118.9 from October’s level of 118.4.

“The fact that tonnage rose in November after a strong October is impressive,” said ATA Chief Economist, Bob Costello.

“It was likely due to some continued pull forward of shipments from China due to the threat of higher tariffs, as well as solid retail sales last month.

“With continued strength in November, tonnage growth is on pace to be the best year since 1998,” he said.

ATA said that October’s change over the previous month was revised down to +5 per cent (+6.3 per cent was originally reported in our press release on November 20).

Compared with November 2017, the seasonally adjusted index increased 7.6 per cent, down slightly from October’s 8.1 per cent year-over-year increase. Year-to-date, compared with the same period last year, tonnage increased 7.2 per cent.

The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 119 in November, which was 3.1 per cent below the previous month (122.8). In calculating the index, 100 represents 2015.

Trucking serves as a barometer of the US economy, according to the ATA, representing 70.2 per cent of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 10.77 billion tonnes of freight in 2017. Motor carriers collected $700.1 billion (€615.5 billion), or 79.3 per cent of total revenue earned by all transport modes.

ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys from its membership and has been doing so since the 1970s. This is a preliminary figure and subject to change in the final report issued around the 10th day of the month. The report includes month-to-month and year-over-year results, relevant economic comparisons and key financial indicators.

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