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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Truck Tonnage Index Tumbles

American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index decreased 1.5 percent in June, following a revised 2.9 percent gain during May. In June, the index equaled 137.2 (2000=100), down from 139.3 in May. The all-time high was 144 in February of this year.

Compared with June 2015, the SA index rose 2.1 percent, which was down from May’s 5.9 percent year-over-year gain. Year-to-date, compared with the same period in 2015, tonnage was up 3.7 percent. Excluding the large increase in February and compared with the same period in 2015, tonnage was up 2.7 percent.

The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 142.2 in June, which was 2.2 percent above the previous month (139.1).

“The seesaw pattern continued again in June with tonnage falling after a good rise in May,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “On a month-to-month basis, tonnage has been down in three of the last four months, totalling 4.7 percent since February. Looking ahead, I expect the freight environment will remain choppy. The good news for trucking is we are the most diverse mode of all freight transportation sectors between industrial and consumer freight. We are currently benefiting from the consumer side while being hurt on the industrial side. And of course we still have the inventory glut that is weighing down tonnage.”

Trucking serves as a barometer of the U.S. economy, representing 68.8 percent of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled just under 10 billion tons of freight in 2014. Motor carriers collected $700.4 billion, or 80.3 percent of total revenue earned by all transport modes.