Monthly tonnage index rises again in March

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The American Trucking Associations on Tuesday, April 24, announced that its advance seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index rose 0.2 percent in March after increasing 0.5 percent in February. The adjusted index stood at 119.5, up from 119.3 in February. The baseline year for the index is 2000.

Compared with March 2011, the adjusted index was up 2.7 percent, which was the smallest year-over-year increase since December 2009. The nonseasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 123.2 in March, which was 9.1 percent above the previous month.

“March tonnage, and the first quarter overall, was reflective of an economy that is growing, but growing moderately,” said Bob Costello, ATA chief economist. “The pace of freight definitely slowed from the torrid pace in late 2011. Most economic indicators still look good, which will continue to support tonnage going forward.”

Costello said the industry should not expect the rate of growth seen over the last couple of years, when tonnage grew 5.8 percent in both 2010 and 2011. “Expect tonnage overall this year to be up at a more moderate rate, perhaps less than 3 percent, which is more in-line with normal growth,” he said.

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