Trucking Tonnage Down, but has it Bottomed Out?
The good news is the bottom of the current tonnage cycle should be near, according to American Trucking Associations (ATA) Chief Economist Bob Costello.
The bad news is the ATA’s Seasonally Adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index fell again in October, by 0.3%, after falling by 6.3% (revised downward from 5.8%) in September, and by 5% in August.
October also saw the second straight year-over-year index decline, down 0.9% compared to October 2015.
Costello notes, however, “There are some recent trends that suggest truck freight should improve, albeit gradually, soon. Retail sales, housing starts, and even factory output all improved in October, which is a good sign. Most importantly, there has been considerable progress made in clearing out excess stocks throughout the supply chain. While that correction is still ongoing, there has been enough improvement that the negative drag on tonnage shouldn’t be as large going forward.”
The index is calculated based on surveys from ATA membership. The all-time high was 144, which was achieved in February.