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September truck tonnage readings are mixed, reports ATA

September truck tonnage readings are mixed, reports ATA

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September truck tonnage data, which was issued this week by the American Trucking Associations (ATA) was mixed.

The ATA’s advanced Seasonally Adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index, for September, came in at 118.8 (2015=100), for a 0.5% increase, following a 2.1% August gain (revised down from an original reading of a 2.8% gain), to 118.2. That was preceded by a 1.5% July decline, which was downwardly revised from an original 1.1% decrease. That June gain was preceded by a 0.3% (downwardly revised from 0.5%) May increase. This was preceded by a 1.4% April decline, which was upwardly revised from an original reading of a 2% decrease. SA tonnage was up 1.8% in March.  

On an annual basis, September SA tonnage was up 5.5%, marking the 13th consecutive month of annual gains, down from a 6.7% annual increase in August. On a year-to-date basis through the first nine months of 2022, ATA said that SA tonnage is up 4%.

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 119 in September, a 3.8% decline compared to August’s 123.7 reading.

“The latest gain put tonnage at the highest level since August 2019 and the third highest level on record,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello in a statement. “This is another example of how the contract freight market remains strong despite weakness in the spot market this year. During the third quarter, tonnage increased 0.5% over the second quarter while increasing 5.6% over the same period in 2021. That was the largest quarterly year-over-year increase since the second quarter of 2018.”

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