Indicators: Truck tonnage up year over year despite recent dips

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Updated Apr 26, 2019
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CCJ‘s Indicators rounds up the latest reports on trucking business indicators on rates, freight, equipment, the economy and more.

The American Trucking Associations’ monthly Truck Tonnage Index, a measure of the amount of freight moved by for-hire carriers, fell 2.3 percent in March from February, rounding out a first quarter plagued by weather-related hang-ups, says ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello.

“In March, and really the first quarter in total, tonnage was negatively impacted by bad winter storms throughout much of the U.S.,” he said. “While I expected tonnage to moderate in the first quarter, the late Easter holiday and the winter storms made it worse. It is likely that tonnage will improve in the second quarter, although year-over-year gains will be significantly below the 2018 annual increase of 6.7 percent.

Compared with March 2018, the tonnage was up 1.6 percent, down from February’s 3.9 percent year-over-year gain. During the first quarter, tonnage was up 3.8 percent from the same period in 2018.