Tonnage up in August

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Updated Jan 21, 2010

The American Trucking Associations’ advance seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 2.1 percent in August, matching July’s increase. The latest gain raised the SA index to 104.1, which was the best reading since February 2009.

The nonseasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 105.8 in August, down 0.5 percent from July. Compared with August 2008, SA tonnage fell 7.5 percent, which was the best year-over-year showing since November 2008.

ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello says the latest increase was another positive sign for the industry. “The gains in tonnage during July and August reflect a growing economy and less of an overhang in inventories,” says Costello, who is hopeful that the overall trend in truck tonnage during the months ahead will be upward.

Costello acknowledged, however, that the pace of increase likely will moderate from the cumulative 4.3-percent gain over the last two months. “While I am optimistic that the worst is behind us, most economic indicators, including industrial output and household spending, suggest freight tonnage will exhibit moderate, and probably inconsistent, growth in the months ahead,” he says.