American Trucking Associations’ seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index showed that tonnage was down compared to the month before, but the decrease was less than expected.
The Index fell 0.2% in February following the 2.5% increase in January, equaling 117.4 for the month. This is compared to a 117.6 reading in January, which ATA revised upward after its initial release.
Compared with February 2018, the seasonally adjusted index increased 5.4%, down from January’s 5.8% gain. In 2018, the index increased 6.7% over 2017, which was the largest annual gain since 1998. ATA expects truck tonnage to moderate in the rest of the year as 2019 is not expected to match the growth seen in 2018.
“After a strong January, I’m a pleasantly surprised that the index didn’t fall much last month,” said Bob Costello, ATA chief economist. “I continue to expect tonnage to moderate like other indicators, including retail sales, manufacturing activity and housing starts. Additionally, the level of inventories throughout the supply chain have increased, which is a drag on truck freight.”