Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!


July tonnage is up annually, reports ATA

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
August 20, 2013

Trucking volumes continue to remain largely flat, according to data released by the American Trucking Associations (ATA) earlier today. 

Seasonally-adjusted (SA) truck tonnage in July fell 0.4 percent following a 0.1 percent gain in June, representing the first SA decrease since April. July’s SA reading was 125.4 (2000=100) compared to June’s 125.9, which ATA said is the highest in its history. On an annual basis, July’s SA is up 4.7 percent and stands as the lowest annual gain going back to April. And on a year-to-date basis, the SA is also 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, increased 3 percent from 125.9 in June to 129.6 in July. 

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.

“After gaining a total of 2.2% in May and June, it isn’t surprising that tonnage slipped a little in July,” ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said in a statement. “The decrease corresponds with the small decline in manufacturing output during July reported by the Federal Reserve last week. Despite the small reprieve in July, we expect solid tonnage numbers during the second half of the year as sectors that generate heavy freight, like oil and gas and autos, continue with robust growth,” Costello said.

He added that home construction generates a significant amount of tonnage, but as mortgage rates and home prices rise, growth in housing starts will decelerate slightly in the second half of the year, but still be a positive for truck freight volumes. What’s more, he said tonnage gains in the second half of the year are likely to overstate the strength in the economy as these heavy freight sectors continue to outperform the economy overall.

That latter point rings especially true, given that retail sales remain sluggish, coupled with still relatively high unemployment and a cautious consumer outlook.

In the most recent edition of the Cass Freight Index, Rosalyn Wilson, senior business analyst at the Delcan Corporation, noted that the economy is still showing signs of slow growth, with GDP growth for the second quarter estimated to be 1.7 percent, stronger than the first quarter revised growth rate of 1.1 percent.

“Future prospects from a freight point of view look largely the same as they did last
Month,” she wrote. “Volume is strong enough to make use of the equipment we have deployed, but not growing at a rate sufficient to cause stress in the system.”

Shippers and carriers have told LM in recent months that current trends remain intact in terms of volume and available capacity, with the general expectation being that it will remain the case barring a sudden shift in demand patterns or economic activity.

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

Logistics Management Group News Editor Jeff Berman had an opportunity to interview Derek Leathers, President and Chief Operating Officer of Werner Enterprises, at this month's NASSTRAC Shippers Conference and Transportation Expo in Orlando. They discussed various aspects of the truckload market, including prices, fuel, and regulations.

During this webcast our presenters will apply the findings of the 23rd Annual Trends & Issues in Transportation and Logistics Study to the world of shipper-carrier decision making. They'll examine the primary aspects that will influence the future direction for shipper-carrier decision-making.

For February, the month for which most recent data is available, the SCI dropped to -1.0 from January’s 2.6, with FTR explaining that the short term positive impact from one-time adjustments for rapidly dropping diesel prices and the suspension of the 2013 motor carriers hours-of-service expires later this year.

Seasonally-adjusted (SA) for-hire truck tonnage in March was up 1.1 percent on the heels of a revised 2.8 percent (from 3.1 percent) February decline, with the SA index at 133.5 (2000=100). This is off 0.3 percent from the all-time high for the SA of 135.8 from January 2015 and is up 5 percent annually.

Intermodal volume was up 8.1 percent annually at 280,016 containers and trailers. This outpaced the week ending April 11 at 270,463 and the week ending April 4 at 271,127. AAR said this tally marks the second highest weekly output it has ever recorded as well as the first time container and trailer traffic was higher than carloads for a one-week period.

Comments

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