Truck tonnage slips due to lack of capacity

U.S. for-hire truck tonnage slipped 1.5% in June, according to the latest data from the American Trucking Associations (ATA). “Tonnage has definitely flattened out, on average, over the last six to nine months,” said ATA chief economist Bob Costello.

“The good news is that it remains slightly above 2020 levels. Supply chain issues are likely putting some downward pressure on tonnage.

But it is also likely that tonnage isn’t growing as much as it could because of industry-specific supply constraints. This index is dominated by contract freight, and the for-hire truckload carriers have seen their tractor counts fall because they are having difficulty finding qualified drivers. It is difficult to move more tonnage with less equipment, which is why we are seeing strong volumes in the spot market as shippers scramble to get loads moved.” 

The June decline comes on the heels of a revised 1% decrease in May.

Year-over-year, June tonnage was up 0.5% and year-to-date, tonnage is up 0.3%.