ATA reports annual gains in 2017 truck tonnage

For all of 2017 SA tonnage was up 3.7% annually, marking its largest annual increase going back to 2013’s 6.1% increase.

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Trucking volumes finished 2017 with annual gains, according to the American Trucking Associations’ (ATA) Truck Tonnage Index.   

Seasonally-adjusted (SA) for-hire truck tonnage at 142.9 (2000=100) in December was down 5.7% compared to November’s 151.6, falling for the first time since September. November’s SA reading was up 7.5% annually, and October’s was up 10.5%. For all of 2017 SA tonnage was up 3.7% annually, marking its largest annual increase going back to 2013’s 6.1% increase.  

The ATA’s not seasonally-adjusted (NSA) index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by fleets before any seasonal adjustment and the metric ATA says fleets should benchmark their levels with, came in at 141.9 in December, falling 3.4% from November, while heading up 5.6% annually.

“Despite the decline in December, last year was a solid year for truck tonnage, especially during the second half of 2017,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello in a statement. “I remain optimistic for 2018 for a host of reasons, including a pick-up in factory activity, better housing construction, solid retail sales, and an expected shot in the arm from the new tax law.”

Last year, Costello said Costello said it was reasonable to expect moderate growth moving forward as key sectors of the economy continue to improve slowly.

Some of these key sectors, which have been previously outlined by Costello, include things like lower inventory levels, better manufacturing activity, solid housing starts, good consumer spending, as well as an increase in the oil rig count – all of which are drivers of freight volumes.


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