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Truck Tonnage Index on the Rise
Monday, 29 June 2009 00:00

The American Trucking Associations' advance seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index jumped 3.2 percent in May, the first increase since February.

However, May's boost wasn't enough to correct the 6.7 cumulative reduction experienced in March and April. For May, the seasonally adjusted index was at 102.3.

The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, was up 0.4 percent from April, to 102.

Compared with May 2008, tonnage contracted 11 percent, which was the best year-over-year result in three months. In April, tonnage took a 13.2 percent plunge from last year, but the May drop is still historically significant, ATA says.

While ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello expressed hope regarding the improvement, he still cautioned that tonnage is not likely to surge anytime soon.

"I am hopeful that the worst is behind us, but I just don't see anything on the economic horizon that suggests freight transportation is ready to explode," Costello said. "The consumer is still facing too many headwinds, including employment losses, tight credit, rising fuel prices, and falling home values, to name a few, that will make it very difficult for household spending to jump in the near term."

He added that he doesn't expect tonnage to deteriorate much further and that any growth in tonnage over
the next few months is likely to be modest., 6/29/2009