ATA
Ata Tonnage June 2022 Website

ATA: Truck tonnage up in June

July 22, 2022
‘While the spot market has slowed as freight softens, contract carriers are backfilling those losses with loads from shippers, reducing spot market exposure,’ association’s chief economist says.

American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 2.7% in June after rising 0.3% in May.

In June, the index equaled 120.1 (2015=100) vs. 116.9 in May, ATA said.

“June’s jump tells me a couple of things: first, the transition in the freight market from spot back to contract continues,” said Bob Costello, ATA’s chief economist. “ATA’s tonnage index is dominated by contract freight, so while the spot market has slowed as freight softens, contract carriers are backfilling those losses with loads from shippers, reducing spot market exposure.

“Essentially, the market is transitioning back to pre-pandemic shares of contract vs. spot market.

“Second, and perhaps equally important, while economic growth is expected to be soft overall in the second quarter, the goods economy wasn’t as bad as feared.”

May’s increase was revised down from ATA’s previous report.

Compared with June 2021, the SA index increased 7.9%, which was the 10th straight year-over-year gain and the largest since June 2018, ATA said. In May, the index was up 3.5% from a year earlier. During the third quarter, the index rose 1.1% from the previous quarter and 4.6% from the same quarter in 2021.

The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 124.5 in June, 4.2% above the May level (119.5). In calculating the index, 100 represents 2015.

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 10.23 billion tons of freight in 2020. Motor carriers collected $732.3 billion, or 80.4% of total revenue earned by all transport modes.

ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys from its membership and has been doing so since the 1970s. 

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