Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!

ATA June tonnage data is mixed

Seasonal data for June sets new monthly record
By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
July 23, 2013

The theme of mixed patterns was apparent again in truck tonnage data released today by the American Trucking Associations (ATA).

The ATA reported that seasonally-adjusted (SA) truck tonnage in June was up 0.1 percent from May at 125.9, which topped May’s 125.8 and stands as the highest SA level on record. The next highest SA after June and May is December 2011 at 124.3. On an annual basis, the SA was up 4.3 percent, which the ATA said represents the largest annual gain since January, which saw a 4.7 percent gain. On an annual basis, the SA is up 5.9 percent, which lags May’s 6.5 percent annual gain, and year-to-date it is up 4.7 percent.

The ATA’s not seasonally-adjusted (NSA) index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by fleets before any seasonal adjustment, was 125.9 in June, dropping off from May’s 132.4, and is up 2.3 percent compared to June 2012.

As LM has reported, some industry analysts maintain that the not seasonally-adjusted index is more useful, because it is comprised of what truckers haul. As defined by the ATA, the not seasonally-adjusted index is assembled by adding up all the monthly tonnage data reported by the survey respondents (ATA member carriers) for the latest two months. Then a monthly percent change is calculated and then applied to the index number for the first month.

“The fact that tonnage didn’t fall back after the 2.1 percent surge in May is quite remarkable,” ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said in a statement. “While housing starts were down in June, tonnage was buoyed by other areas like auto production which was very strong in June and durable-goods output, which increased 0.5 percent during the month according to the Federal Reserve. Robust auto sales also helped push retail sales higher, helping tonnage in June. The trend this year is heavy freight, like autos and energy production, is growing faster than lighter freight, which is pushing truck tonnage up.”

While the ATA’s data is on the positive side, many industry stakeholders maintain that over all market conditions appear to be in a bit of a holding pattern, with no material increases or decreases occurring to a large degree.

Some of the market rigidity appears to be directly tied to cautious consumer spending, low GDP growth, a declining but still stubbornly high unemployment rate.

Many carriers have told LM that at the mid-point of 2013 demand expectations are relatively flat, with no huge increase on the horizon, but some have cautioned that they need to prepare for any meaningful upticks in demand that could come to fruition.

While tonnage has returned to mid single digit growth thanks to strong growth in freight related to housing and fracking, load count continues to languish,” wrote Donald Broughton, Avondale Partners analyst, in a research report. “The backdrop is decidedly mixed however, as the ISM [PMI] at 50.9 indicates almost no growth in industrial freight, while growth in retails sales excluding food, autos, and gas has begun to show improved momentum and housing continues to advance. We do not expect a strong improvement in demand in 2H’13, but believe that easier comps and a gradually improving outlook for the consumer should provide tailwinds for freight.”

About the Author

Jeff Berman headshot
Jeff Berman
Group News Editor

Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Subscribe to Logistics Management magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your
entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

Seasonally-adjusted (SA) for-hire truck tonnage in October at 135.7 (2000=100) was up 1.9 percent compared to September’s 133.1, and the ATA’s not seasonally-adjusted (NSA) index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by fleets before any seasonal adjustment was 139.8 in October, which was 0.9 percent ahead of September.

The average price per gallon of diesel gasoline fell 3.7 cents to $2.445 per gallon, according to data issued today by the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA). This marks the lowest weekly price for diesel since June 1, 2009, when it was at $2.352 per gallon.

In its report, entitled “Grey is the new Black,” JLL takes a close look at supply chain-related trends that can influence retailers’ approaches to Black Friday.

This year, it's all about the digital supply network. In this virtual conference, we will define the challenges currently facing supply chain organizations and offer solutions designed to transform linear operations into dynamic, automated networks that offer seamless communication, visibility, and the ability to respond and optimize processes at any given time.

In his opening comments assessing the economy at last week’s RailTrends conference hosted by Progressive Railroading magazine and independent railroad analyst Tony Hatch, FTR Senior analyst Larry Gross said the economy continues to slog ahead at a relatively tepid pace, coupled with some volatility in terms of overall GDP growth. And amid that slogging, Gross said there is currently an economic hand-off occurring between the industrial sector and the consumer sector.

Article Topics

News · All topics


Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.

© Copyright 2015 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA