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Truck Freight Tonnage Jumps 7.1 Percent in August

The amount of freight hauled by the trucking industry rose in August but is expected to slow this month because of the hurricanes in the southern U.S., according to the American Trucking Associations.

The ATA’s seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index jumped 7.1 percent in August, compared with a 0.5 percent gain in July. The index was up 2.1 percent during the same month a year earlier.

“Tonnage was stronger than most other economic indicators in August and more than I would have expected,” said Bob Costello, the ATA’s chief economist. “However, prep work for the hurricanes and better port volumes likely gave tonnage an added boost during the month.”

ATA calculates its tonnage index based on surveys from its membership. In August, the index equaled 149, up from 139.1 in July.

Compared with August 2016, the index jumped 8.2 percent. In July, the index rose 2.7 percent on a year-over-year basis. Year-to-date, compared with the same eight months in 2016, the index is up 2.1 percent.

“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,” Costello said.

Trucking hauls nearly 71 percent of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation. The industry accounts for about $676.2 billion in freight business, or 79.8 percent of total revenue earned by all transport modes, according to the ATA.

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