The American Trucking Associations (ATA) advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 2.8% in February 2014 after plunging 4.5% the previous month. January’s drop was slightly more than the 4.3% reported February 19, 2014. In February, the index equaled 127.6 (2000=100) versus 124.1 in January. The all-time high was in November 2013 (131.0).
Compared with February 2013, the SA index climbed 3.6%. Year-to-date, versus the same period in 2013, tonnage is up 2.3%.
The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 116.5 in February, which was 4.5% below the previous month (122).
“It is pretty clear that winter weather had a negative impact on truck tonnage during February,” said Bob Costello, ATA chief economist. “However, the impact wasn’t as bad as in January because of the backlog in freight due to the number of storms that hit over the January and February period.
“The fundamentals for truck freight continue to look good,” he said. “Several other economic indicators also snapped back in February. We have a hole to dig out of from such a bad January, but I feel like we are moving in the right direction again. I remain optimistic for 2014.”
Trucking serves as a barometer of the US economy, representing 68.5% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 9.4 billion tons of freight in 2012. Motor carriers collected $642.1 billion, or 80.7% of total revenue earned by all transport modes.