Truck tonnage makes strides in November, reports ATA

By LM Staff · October 20, 2020

September truck tonnage data, which was issued today by the American Trucking Associations (ATA), was solid, following an August decline.

The ATA’s advanced Seasonally Adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index for September—115.1 (2015=100)—headed up 6.7% over August, following a 5.3% decline (revised from an original reading of 5.6%), from July to August and a 1.4% decrease, from June to July. On an annual basis, September SA tonnage was off 2.7%, marking the sixth consecutive month of annual declines, with SA tonnage down 3.3% on a year-to-date basis through September.

On a quarterly basis, ATA said that SA tonnage rose 2.4%, from the second quarter to the third quarter, and was down 3.3% annually.

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 112.4 in September, for a 0.7% decline compared to August’s 112.9 reading.

“September had a nice recovery after a significant decline in August,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello in a statement. “The truck freight market continues to be bifurcated, with strength in retail and home construction, but some continued weakness in industrial freight.

ATA’s September data matched up well with the Cass Freight Index Report, which was recently released by Cass Information Systems.

Cass reported that September shipments—at 1.099—were down 1.8% annually, nearly 6% better than August’s 7.6% annual decrease and were up 7.1% compared to August. This marks the second consecutive month in which freight shipments posted its best annual comparison going back to November 2019, with the raw index number also at its highest level since November 2019.

October 20, 2020