American Trucking Associations’ For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index rose by 7.2% in February, hitting an all-time high reading of 144.
Compared with last February the index was up 8.6%. Year-to-date, compared with the same period in 2015, tonnage is up 4.8%.
While numbers indicated a stronger than average month, ATA noted that it was most likely caused by such a weak month in January. With bad winter storms and other negative factors, tonnage had some catching up to do.
“Normally, fleets report large declines to ATA in February tonnage, in the range of 5.4% to 6.7% over the last three years. So, the small increase this year yielded a big seasonally adjusted gain,” said Bob Costello, ATA chief economist. “If March is strong, then I’ll get more excited.”
The February increase is the largest monthly move for the Truck Tonnage Index since January of 2013, when it grew by 11.4%. It is also the largest year-over-year increase since December 2013.
“I’m still concerned about the elevated inventories throughout the supply chain," Costello said. "Last week, the Census Bureau reported that relative to sales, inventories rose again in January, which is troubling. We need those inventories reduced before trucking can count on more consistent, better freight volumes.”