Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!


ATA reports seasonally-adjusted tonnage is down 2.3 percent in May

This decline continues a trend of uneven freight transportation volumes amid various economic indicators showing signs that the economic recovery has lost its footing in recent weeks especially
By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
June 27, 2011

Following a revised 0.6 percent decline for its advance seasonally-adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage in April, the American Trucking Associations (ATA) reported today that the same index dropped 2.3 percent in May.

This decline continues a trend of uneven freight transportation volumes amid various economic indicators showing signs that the economic recovery has lost its footing in recent weeks especially.

Along with May’s 2.3 percent and April’s 0.6 percent SA declines, the SA was up 1.9 percent in March, down 2.7 percent in February, and up 3.8 percent and 2.5 percent, respectively, in January and December.

The ATA’s not seasonally-adjusted (NSA) index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by fleets before any seasonal adjustment, hit 115.9 in May, topping April by 2 percentage points. Both months were down compared to March’s 123.3, and on an annual basis, the SA was down 7.6 percent from May 2010.

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.

“Truck tonnage over the last four months shows that the economy definitely hit a soft patch this spring,” ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said in a statement. “With our index falling in three of the last four months totaling 3.7 percent, it is clear why there is some renewed anxiety over the economic recovery. With oil prices falling and some of the Japan-related auto supply problems ending, I believe this was a soft patch and not a slide back into recession, and we should see better, but not great, economic activity in the months ahead.”

At last week’s eyefortransport 3PL Summit in Atlanta, similar sentiment made by shippers and carriers was closely in line with Costello’s, with many attendees telling LM that while things are decent, a good amount of the momentum occurring in the market earlier in the year has definitely lessened.

Both shippers and carriers noted that the second half of the year, coupled with how Peak Season shapes up, will go a long way in determining how things shake out in the trucking market.

Robert W. Baird and Co. analyst Jon Langenfeld wrote in a research note that the domestic demand environment remains consistent with a slow-growth economy, adding that industry contacts indicate a seasonal pickup in freight demand into June.

Langenfeld added that the supply/demand balance continues to favor carriers and support rate growth, though the likelihood for pricing to exceed expectations remain muted.

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

UPS today announced diluted earnings per share of $1.32 for the third quarter 2014, a 13.8% improvement over the prior year period. Operating profit increased 8.3%, resulting from balanced growth across all three segments.

The Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported this week that U.S. trade with its North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners Canada and Mexico increased 4.4 percent from August 2013 to August 2014 at $100.6 billion.

As expected, global trade dipped from August to September but still saw annual gains, according to data issued this week by Panjiva, an online search engine with detailed information on global suppliers and manufacturers.

Transportation and logistics merger and acquisition (M&A) activity in the third quarter saw annual gains, which were driven by smaller deals in the trucking logistics, shipping, and passenger air sectors, according to data issued in the Intersections report by PwC this week.

With the holidays rapidly approaching, it appears retailers are not quite done getting inventory set up and on the shelves in time for what is expected to be a fairly active shopping season. That much was evident based on recent data for September volumes issued by the Port of Los Angeles (POLA) and the Port of Long Beach (POLB).

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