ATA Truck Tonnage Index fell 2.2 percent in April

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The American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index decreased 2.2 percent in April, after posting a 1.2 percent jump in March. On a seasonally adjusted basis, the index declined to 112.1 in April from 114.6 the previous month.

After March’s year-over-year increase, which was the first since June 2006, April’s tonnage was 2.7 percent below the same month in 2006. The not-seasonally adjusted index contracted 5.7 percent from March to 110.4.

ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said the year-over-year decrease was not surprising, given the weak anecdotal reports from carriers as well as the unexpected strength in March. “April’s tonnage figures highlight that the economy hasn’t turned the corner just yet,” Costello said. “We can expect this volatility to continue over the next few months, with the potential for more year-over-year contractions.”

Costello said he anticipates that the industry will see a gradual improvement in volumes as the year progresses due to an inventory correction and a better economic outlook for 2008. These should combine to boost truck volumes, he said.

ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys from its membership and has been doing so since the 1970s. The report includes month-to-month and year-over-year results, relevant economic comparisons and key financial indicators. The baseline year for the index is 2000.