ECONOMIC WATCH: ATA Truck Tonnage Index jumps

by Today’s Trucking

July 21, 2020

ARLINGTON, Va. — American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index rose 8.7% in June after falling 1% in May, the association said Tuesday.

In June, the index equaled 115.3 (2015=100) compared to 106.1 in May.

“Not surprisingly, as more states lifted restrictions in June, truck tonnage was robust,” said ATA chief economist Bob Costello.

“While the gain in June was the single best month since January 2013, the solid gain was not enough to put tonnage back to pre-pandemic levels, but it is close,” he added.

ATA Index June 20Source: ATA

Costello said while there are signs of further improvement for July, he was concerned that freight could slow as more states reinstate restrictions due to increasing coronavirus cases.

Compared to June 2019, the SA index contracted 1.3%, the third straight year-over-year decline, but the smallest over that period, ATA said. Year-to-date, compared to the same period in 2019, tonnage is down 2.4%.

Trucking serves as a barometer of the U.S. economy, representing 72.5% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods.

Trucks hauled 11.84 billion tons of freight in 2019. Motor carriers collected $791.7 billion, or 80.4% of total revenue earned by all transport modes, ATA said.