The American Trucking Associations’ (ATA) seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index fell 2.8 percent in October, the first decrease since July. In September, the index was up 0.5percent, but September’s increase was less than the preliminary 1.4 percent gain ATA reported on Oct. 22.
“From May through September, the index surged 3.5 percent, including only one monthly decrease over that period,” said Bob Castello, ATA’s chief economist. “It isn’t surprising for volumes to fall back some after such a good run.”
In October, the index equaled 124 (2000 equating to 100) as opposed to 127.5 in September. October’s level was the lowest since April and compared with October 2012, the SA index jumped by 8 percent, which is the largest year-over-year gain since December 2011. Year-to-date, compared with the same period in 2012, the tonnage index is up 5.5 percent.
The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, was 133 in October, or 4.9 percent higher than the previous month, which was 126.9.
“Despite October’s month-to-month decrease, we saw a very robust year-over-year increase and I’m seeing some good signs out of the trucking industry that suggests the economy may be a little stronger than we think,” Costello said.
“Specifically, the heavy freight sectors, like tank truck, have been helping tonnage this year. But in the third quarter, generic dry van truckload freight saw the best quarterly gains since 2010. I view this positively for the economy. I view it positively for trucking. Now, we have to see if it continues.”