ATA Truck Tonnage, October 2018

Robust import numbers drive Truck Tonnage Index to leap 6.3% in October

American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index jumped 6.3% in October 2018 to 119.9 from September’s mark of 112.8.

“After slowing at the end of the third quarter, truck freight surged in October,” said Bob Costello, ATA chief economist. “Last month’s strength was due, at least in part, to strong import numbers, especially on the West Coast. This is likely a pull ahead of imports as shippers try to take delivery of goods before January 1, when tariffs on a large list of goods China increases from 10% to 25%.”

Compared with October 2017, the SA index increased 9.5%, up from September’s 3.8% year-over-year gain. Year-to-date, compared with the same period in 2017, tonnage rose 7.3%.

The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 124.4 in October, which was 11.8% above the previous month (111.2). In calculating the index, 100 represents 2015.

Trucking serves as a barometer of the US economy, representing 70.2% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 10.77 billion tons of freight in 2017. Motor carriers collected $700.1 billion, or 79.3% of total revenue earned by all transport modes.

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