Indicators: Despite positive momentum for freight, tonnage down slightly in September

CCJ‘s Indicators rounds up the latest reports on trucking business indicators on rates, freight, equipment, the economy and more.

The amount of freight carried by the for-hire trucking industry in September fell by nearly a percentage point in September from August, according to the American Trucking Associations‘ monthly tonnage report. ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello blames the dip — which comes amid otherwise strong market conditions for carriers — on natural disasters that occurred in September, like hurricanes Irma and Harvey and the wildfires in western states.

September’s nine-tenths of a percent decline follows a 4.7 percent jump in August from July. However, compared to September 2016, tonnage was up a solid 7.4 percent, ATA notes. Year to date through September, tonnage was up 2.4 percent.

“Tonnage gave back some of the solid gain in August, but remains at very high levels despite the weather-related issues during the month,” said Costello. “Going forward, rebuilding from those hurricanes and other natural disasters like the wildfires in California will add to freight demand.”

“September’s small setback doesn’t worry me. Freight has been improving and I would have thought tonnage last month would have been softer than it was,” he said.