The American Trucking Associations advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index rose 1.3% in July 2014 after a decrease of 0.8% the previous month. In July, the index equaled 130.2 (2000=100) versus 128.6 in June. The index is off just 0.6% from the all-time high in November 2013 (131.0).
Compared with July 2013, the SA index increased 3.6%, up from June’s 2.3% year-over-year gain. The latest year-over-year increase was the largest in three months. Year-to-date versus the same period in 2013, tonnage is up 2.9%.
The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 133.3 in July 2014, which was 0.8% above the previous month (132.3).
“After a surprising decrease in June, tonnage really snapped back in July,” said Bob Costello, ATA chief economist. “This gain fits more with the anecdotal reports we are hearing from motor carriers that freight volumes are good.”
Costello added that tonnage is up 4.9% since hitting a recent low in January.
“The solid tonnage number in July fits with the strong factory output reading and a jump in housing starts for the same month,” he said. “I continue to expect moderate, but good, tonnage growth for the rest of the year.”
Trucking serves as a barometer of the US economy, representing 69.1% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 9.7 billion tons of freight in 2013. Motor carriers collected $681.7 billion, or 81.2% of total revenue earned by all transport modes.