Truck tonnage continues to climb, according to American Trucking Associations, which logged an advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increase of 1.4% in January after rising 1.2% in December 2020.
In January, the index equaled 114.6 (2015=100) compared with 113.1 in December 2020.
ATA recently revised the seasonally adjusted index back five years as part of its annual revision.
“Over the last four months, the tonnage index has increased a total of 3.3%, which is obviously good news,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello in a press release. “However, the index is still off 2.8% from the high in March  as tonnage plunged 9% in April  alone. I continue to expect a nice climb up for the economy and truck freight as we get more economic stimulus and increased vaccination numbers.”
Compared with a year ago, the seasonally adjusted index fell 2.1%, which was preceded by a 2.6% year-over-year decline in December 2020. In 2020, the index was 4% below the 2019 average.
The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 107.4 in January, 4.5% below the December 2020 level (112.4). In calculating the index, 100 represents 2015. ATA’s For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index is dominated by contract freight as opposed to spot market freight.
ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys from its membership and has been doing so since the 1970s.