American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index rose 1.2% in February after increasing 0.6% in January. In February, the index equaled 118.4 compared with 117 in January.
“Tonnage has increased sequentially for the last three months totaling 2.9 percent,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “As a result, the index is just 0.3 percent below the recent high in September. The fact that our index is growing sequentially and on a year-over-year basis demonstrates that contract freight continues to hold up at high levels.”
He added: “Looking ahead, we continue to see evidence the inventory cycle is improving, which means bloated stocks will stop being a headwind and eventually help truck freight volumes. Increased infrastructure spending will also boost volumes heading into the summer months. However, we expect to see continued freight softness related to lower home construction and slowing factory output.”
Compared with February 2022, the seasonally adjusted index increased 2.3%, which was the eighteenth straight year-over-year gain, but the largest since October. In January, the index was up 1.4% from a year earlier. In 2022, compared with the average in 2021, tonnage was up 3.5%.
The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 107.6 in February, 4.5% below the January level (112.6). 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.
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