Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!


ATA reports improved tonnage results for November

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
December 18, 2012

November trucking volumes largely recovered from the Hurricane Sandy-induced declines in October, according to data released by the American Trucking Associations (ATA) today.

The ATA said that seasonally-adjusted (SA) truck tonnage in November—at 118.0 (2000=100) was up 3.7 percent in November, cancelling out the revised 3.7 percent decline from October, which was revised from 3.8 percent. This gain was the first for the SA since January, said ATA officials, and snapped a three-month skid of declines representing a cumulative drop of 4.6 percent.

On an annual basis, the November SA is up 1 percent, following a 2.1 percent annual decline in October. And on a year-to-date basis through the first 11 months of the year it is up 2.8 percent.

The ATA’s not seasonally-adjusted (NSA) index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by fleets before any seasonal adjustment, was 115.7 in November, 6.5 percent below October and 0.4 percent higher than November 2011.

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.

“Sandy impacted both October’s and November’s tonnage readings,” ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said in a statement. “But it was still good to see tonnage snap back in November.”  Costello added that he expects a boost to flatbed tonnage from the rebuilding in the areas impacted by Sandy, but most of that won’t happen until the spring when the money starts flowing and the weather is conducive to building. 

And he also said if a fiscal cliff resolution is not imminent it is within reason to expect less tonnage as households will have less money to spend, which will dint consumer spending.

But if an agreement is reached, Costello expects that tonnage growth could decelerate in 2013, with better housing starts and auto sales offset by slower factory output and consumer spending.

Various shippers and carrier have repeatedly told LM that volumes remain in a holding pattern to a certain degree, with no real positive indications that things will change soon.

At last month’s NITL-IANA TransComp exhibition, both shippers and carriers explained that they expect current volumes and market conditions to largely remain at current levels, due to the nation’s fiscal challenges, which, if progress is not made by Congress, could drag the economy back into a recession and nix many of the hopeful indicators seen in recent months.

And sluggish retail sales numbers and declining manufacturing output, which both are key supply chain drivers, have also crimped overall economic output, too.

“When you look at what has happened in both the freight economy and the overall economy over the last 9 months, things have really flattened,” said Eric Starks, president of freight transportation forecasting firm FTR Associates. “It is a somewhat stagnant environment, especially with retail sales. But if we can get past the fiscal cliff with a good compromise that makes sense, it could be very beneficial.”

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

Following the lead of its Congressional Colleagues in the House of Representatives, the United States Senate yesterday approved a measure geared to keep federal surface transportation funding intact through the end of December with a nearly $11 billion stopgap fix.

XPO Logistics announced second quarter earnings and the acquisition of two companies, New Breed Logistics, a non asset-based 3PL focusing in contract logistics services, for roughly $615 million, and Atlantic Central Logistics, a 3PL provider of last-mile logistics services, for roughly $36.5 million.

The report, entitled “Outlook for the Domestic Transport and Logistics Market in 2H14 and Beyond,” takes the view that strong freight levels in the second quarter have left trucking companies in a good position: one in which they need to come up with new plans to handle rising demand. But even with that positive momentum afloat, the report observes that there are some familiar challenges intact, such as a lack of qualified drivers and the regulatory drag from the new hours-of-service rules that took effect in July 2013.

Flags of Convenience are a fact of life in the commercial maritime trade, but several European political action groups are worried that they will pose a threat to the Continent’s air cargo industry.

For May, which is the most recent month for which data is available, the SCI is -7.5, following April’s -7.5. FTR said this reading represents a still-tight capacity environment, as utilization rates hover between 98 percent and 99 percent.

Comments

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


© Copyright 2013 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA