American Trucking Associations
american_trucking_associations_truck_tonnage_index

ATA: Truck tonnage increases in December

Jan. 26, 2024
“While 2023 ended on a better note, truck tonnage remained in a recession as it continued to fall on a year-over-year basis,” ATA’s chief economist reports.

American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 2.1% in December after falling 1.4% in November.

In December, the index equaled 115.7 (2015=100) compared with 113.3 in November, ATA said.

“While 2023 ended on a better note, truck tonnage remained in a recession as it continued to fall on a year-over-year basis,” Bob Costello, ATA’s chief economist, said in a news release. “With that said, for-hire contract freight, which is what comprises our index, in December was 2.6% above the trough in April. For the entire year, tonnage contracted 1.7% from 2022 levels. This makes 2023 the worst annual reading since 2020 when the index fell 4% from 2019, and the only year since 2020 that tonnage contracted.”

Compared with December 2022, the SA index fell 0.5%, which was the 10th straight year-over-year decrease, albeit the smallest over that period. In November, the index was down 1.6% from a year earlier.

The not-seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 110.7 in December, 1.9% below the November level (112.8). In calculating the index, 100 represents 2015. ATA’s For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index is dominated by contract freight as opposed to spot market freight.

Trucking serves as a barometer of the U.S. economy, representing 72.6% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 11.46 billion tons of freight in 2022. Motor carriers collected $940.8 billion, or 80.7% of total revenue earned by all transport modes.