ATA truck tonnage index surges in January

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The American Trucking Associations’ Truck Tonnage Index surged 3.4 percent to 116.5 in January.

This was the largest month-to-month gain in several years and a marked improvement over the one-point decrease in December. The index was 6.4 percent higher than in January 2004.

“January proved to be a strong month for truck tonnage,” said Bob Costello, ATA’s chief economist.

Costello said that increasing manufacturing production drove the index increase.

“We have seen big gains in heavy commodity movements, like steel, which is another reason why tonnage is growing at a solid pace,” Costello said.

Since the 1970s ATA has calculated the monthly tonnage index based on member surveys. ATA represents more than 37,000 fleets covering every type of motor carrier in the United States.

Trucks hauled 68.9 percent – 9.1 billion tons – of the tonnage carried by all domestic freight transport in 2003, ATA said. Motor carriers collected $610 billion, or 86.9 percent of total revenue earned by all transport modes.