Truck tonnage takes a “breather” in August 2015

Truck tonnage takes a “breather” in August 2015

American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index declined 0.9% in August 2015 following a revised increase of 3.1% during July.

In August, the index equaled 134.2 (2000=100), down from 135.3 in July. The all-time high of 135.8 was reached in January 2015.

Compared with August 2014, the SA index advanced 2.1%, which was below the 4% gain in July. Year-to-date through August 2015, versus the same period in 2014, tonnage was up 3.3%.

The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 137.0 in August 2015, which was 0.5% below the previous month (137.6).

“After such a robust July, it is not too surprising that tonnage took a breather in August,” said Bob Costello, ATA chief economist. “The dip after a strong gain goes with the up-and-down pattern we’ve seen this year.”

Costello said a few factors hurt August’s reading, including soft housing starts and falling factory output.

“As I said last month, I remain concerned about the high level of inventories throughout the supply chain. This could have a negative impact on truck freight volumes over the next few months,” he said.

Trucking serves as a barometer of the US economy, representing 68.8% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled just under 10 billion tons of freight in 2014. Motor carriers collected $700.4 billion, or 80.3% of total revenue earned by all transport modes.

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