Truck Freight Tonnage Dips 0.9 Percent in September

October 24, 2017 by Clarissa Hawes

The amount of freight hauled by the trucking industry dropped slightly in September after logging a significant gain the previous month, the American Trucking Associations said Tuesday.

The ATA’s seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index dipped 0.9 percent in September, compared with a 4.7 percent gain in August. The ATA index adjusted August’s gain, which was originally reported as 7.1 percent a month earlier. The index was up 2.4 percent during the same month a year earlier.

“September’s small setback doesn’t worry me,” said Bob Costello, the ATA’s chief economist. “Freight has been improving and I would have thought tonnage last month would have been softer than it is.

ATA calculates its tonnage index based on surveys from its membership. In September, the index equaled 144.4, down from 145.7 in August.

Compared with September 2016, the index jumped 7.4 percent during the same month a year earlier. In August, the index spiked 5.8 percent on a year-over-year basis. Year-to-date, compared with the same nine months in 2016, the index is up 2.4 percent.

“Tonnage gave back some of the solid gain in August, but remains at very high levels despite the weather-related issues during the month,” Costello said. “Going forward, rebuilding from those hurricanes and other natural disasters like the wildfires in California will add to freight demand.”

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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