Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!


October truck tonnage levels show decent annual gains, reports ATA

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
November 20, 2013

Amid a still topsy-turvy economic outlook truck tonnage volumes appear to holding up pretty well, according to data released by the American Trucking Associations (ATA) earlier this week.

Seasonally-adjusted (SA) truck tonnage in October dropped 2.8 percent, following a 0.5 percent gain in September, with the index at 124 (2000=100). This is the lowest SA level going back to April and snapped three months of sequential growth. But on an annual basis, the SA index was up 8 percent compared to October 2012, which the ATA said is the largest annual increase since December 201l, adding that the SA index is up 5.5 percent year-to-date through October.

The ATA’s not seasonally-adjusted (NSA) index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by fleets before any seasonal adjustment, increased 4.9 percent from 126.9 in September to 133 in October and is up 4.5 percent annually compared to the 123.7 SA recorded in October 2012, which was impacted by Hurricane Sandy.

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.

“From May through September, the index surged 3.5%, including only one monthly decrease over that period,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello in a statement. “It isn’t surprising for volumes to fall back some after such a good run. Despite October’s month-to-month decrease, we saw a very robust year-over-year increase and I’m seeing some good signs out of the trucking industry that suggests the economy may be a little stronger than we think. Specifically, the heavy freight sectors, like tank truck, have been helping tonnage this year. But in the third quarter, generic dry van truckload freight saw the best quarterly gains since 2010. I view this positively for the economy. I view it positively for trucking. Now, we have to see if it continues.”

How volumes shake out in the coming months remains to be seen. Many trucking executives at this week’s Transcomp Expo in Houston pointed to a relatively modest economic outlook which is playing out in their tonnage levels. While they indicated things are currently “steady,” they added that there are no clear indications that current trends will change any time soon.

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

The Department of Commerce reported that January retail sales were up 0.2 percent compared to December and up 3.7 percent annually at $449.9 billion, and the NRF reported that January retail sales, which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants, rose 0.6 percent over December and 1.4 percent compared to January 2015.

On the freight shipments side, Cass reported that January shipments––at 1.025––trailed December by 1.3 percent and January 2016 by 0.2 percent. These declines were less than the 4.9 percent drop from November to December, though, and January shipments still topped the 1.0 mark for the 65th straight month in December.

The Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported this week that its Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) saw a 0.4 percent decline from November to December, its second straight decline on the heels of a 1.0 percent decrease from October to November.

Carloads saw a 11.7 percent annual decline at 241,680, and intermodal containers and trailers rose 10.5 percent to 262,830

An amendment to the International Maritime Organization’s Safety of Life at Sea convention will go into effect requiring all shippers (importers and exporters) to certify and submit the Verified Gross Mass – the combined weight of the cargo and the container – to the steamship line and terminal operator in advance of loading the container aboard a vessel.

Comments

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


© Copyright 2016 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA