Wednesday, December 30, 2009

American Trucking Index Shows Positive Figures For November

Good Sign, but Too Early for Celebration
Shipping News Feature

USA - The American Trucking Associations’ (ATA) advance seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 2.7 percent in November, following a 0.2 percent contraction in October. Compared with November 2008, SA tonnage fell 3.5 percent, which was the best year-over-year showing in twelve months. In October, the index was down 5.2 percent from a year earlier.

The ATA’s index is an important barometer to the state of the American economy, with trucks hauling 10.2 billion tons of freight in 2008, and as such the news has been greeted favourably by industry watchers.

ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said that the latest indications for U.S. freight traffic were positive. “Slowly, but surely, truck freight has started the recovery process and November’s solid increase is a very positive sign,” he noted.

However, Mr. Costello urged caution against over optimism, saying that: “While the economy and trucking is improving, the industry should not get overly excited about the sizeable increase in November. I continue to believe that both the economy and truck tonnage will exhibit starts and stops in the months ahead, but the general trend should be for moderate growth.”

The ATA also pointed out that their figures on improved traffic could also be indicative of the fact that a number of trucking companies have failed over the period and as such the remainder of their participating members are seeing greater tonnages due to reduced capacity in the industry.