ATA truck tonnage index up in September

The American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 0.2 per cent in September after falling 4.0 per cent in August.

In September, the index equaled 117.6 (2015=100) compared with 117.3 in August.

“This was the first month in 2019 that we did not see a significant increase or decrease in tonnage,” said ATA Chief Economist, Bob Costello. “For the entire third quarter, the index was up 1.2 per cent over the previous quarter and 4.5 per cent from a year earlier, both are nice gains.”

It is important to note that ATA’s tonnage data is dominated by contract freight, which is performing significantly better than the plunge in spot market freight this year.

August’s reading was revised down compared with our September press release.

Compared with September 2018, the SA index increased 3.5 per cent. The index is up 4.1 per cent year-to-date compared with the same period last year.

The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 114.8 in August, 7.5 per cent below the August level (124). In calculating the index, 100 represents 2015.

Trucking serves as a barometer of the US economy, 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 USD, 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 5th day of each month. The report includes month-to-month and year-over-year results, relevant economic comparisons and key financial indicators.

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