ATA Truck Tonnage Index surges 6.6% in July

ARLINGTON, Va. — American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) for-hire Truck Tonnage Index jumped 6.6% in July after falling 1.2% in June, the organization said Tuesday. In July, the index equaled 122.7 (2015=100) compared with 115.1 in June, it said.

This is a preliminary figure and subject to change in the final report issued in the first week of each month, ATA noted. “Tonnage in 2019 has been on a roller-coaster ride, plagued with large monthly swings, which continued in July as tonnage surged after falling significantly in May and June,” said ATA chief economist Bob Costello. “However, take out the month-to-month noise, and you see that truck tonnage is still on a nice upward path.

It is important to note that ATA’s tonnage data is dominated by contract freight, which is performing significantly better than the plunge in spot market freight this year.” Compared with July 2018, the SA index surged 7.3%, the largest year-over-year gain since April, ATA said. The not-seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 122.8 in July, 4.5% above June level (117.5).

In calculating the index, 100 represents 2015. Trucking serves as a barometer of the U.S. economy, representing 70.2% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 10.77 billion tons of freight in 2017.

Motor carriers collected £700.1 billion, or 79.3% of total revenue earned by all transport modes, ATA said.

The organization calculates the tonnage index based on surveys from its membership, and has been doing so since the 1970s.

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