August ATA truck tonnage volumes show decent growth

Seasonally-adjusted (SA) for-hire truck tonnage at 149 (2000=100) was up 7.1% over July, and the ATA’s not seasonally-adjusted (NSA) index saw a 10.5% increase from July to August, coming in at 156.4.

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August was a very solid month for truck tonnage, according to data issued earlier today by the American Trucking Associations (ATA).

Seasonally-adjusted (SA) for-hire truck tonnage at 149 (2000=100) was up 7.1% over July, which was 0.5% better than August. On an annual basis, SA tonnage was up 8.2% in August, well outpacing July’s 2.7% annual spread, and on a year-to-date basis through August, the SA is up 2.1% annually. 

The ATA’s not seasonally-adjusted (NSA) index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by fleets before any seasonal adjustment and the metric ATA says fleets should benchmark their levels with, saw a 10.5% increase from July to August, coming in at 156.4. The August NSA reading is up 7.5% annually.

“Tonnage was stronger than most other economic indicators in August and more than I would have expected,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello in a statement. “However, prep work for the hurricanes and better port volumes likely gave tonnage an added boost during the month. I suspect that short-term service disruptions from when the storms made landfall, as well as the normal ebb and flow of freight, could make September weaker and tonnage will smooth out to more moderate gains, on average.”

Earlier this year, Costello said it was reasonable to expect moderate growth moving forward as key sectors of the economy continue to improve slowly.

Some of these key sectors, which have been previously outlined by Costello, include things like lower inventory levels, better manufacturing activity, solid housing starts, good consumer spending, as well as an increase in the oil rig count – all of which are drivers of freight volumes.

Should the inventory issues truly continue to recede, it will go a long way in helping volume growth, especially if it runs in tandem with ongoing job growth, and the semblance of sustained gains in retail sales and consumer confidence, too.

Commentary at last week’s 2017 FTR Transportation Conference in Indianapolis pointed toward fairly decent market conditions over all, with retail spending numbers showing promise, coupled with signs of a decent peak season, and tight capacity, too. 


About the Author

Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. Contact Jeff Berman

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