Tuesday, June 1, 2010

US Truck Freight Figures Rise Again

ATA Guide Shows 'Sustainable' Growth
Shipping News Feature

US – Once again the American Trucking Associations’ (ATA) advance seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased for the sixth time in the last seven months, gaining another 0.9 percent in April. Together with a 0.4% increase in the previous month means the Index hit its highest level since September 2008 at 110.2 up six and a half percent in the last seven months. 2010’s year to date tonnage is up six percent against 2009.

ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said that the latest tonnage reading fits with a sustained economic recovery. “Truck tonnage volumes continue to improve at a solid, yet sustainable, rate. Tonnage is being boosted by robust manufacturing output and stronger retail sales.” Costello also reiterated a statement from last month’s release, saying: “For most fleets, freight volumes feel better than reported tonnage because the supply situation, particularly in the truckload sector, is turning quickly.”

The ATA say, with some authority, that truck freight offers a snapshot of the nation’s health and serves as a barometer of the U.S. economy, representing 68 percent of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 8.8 billion tons of freight in 2009. Motor carriers collected $544.4 billion, or 81.9 percent of total revenue earned by all transport modes. The ATA index has functioned for over thirty years and is based on responses from a sample of its 37,000 members who range from major national less than truckload (LTL) operations to small local carriers.