Truck tonnage levels trend down in April, reports ATA

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Truck tonnage saw a decline, for the month of April, according to data issued this week by the American Trucking Associations (ATA).

The ATA’s advanced Seasonally Adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index, for April, came in at 115.8 (2015=100), falling 2% on the heels of a 1.8% March gain (this reading was downwardly revised from an original 2.4% increase).

On an annual basis, SA tonnage saw a 1.8% increase, marking the eighth straight month of annual gains. This was down from March’s 3.3% annual gain. On a year-to-date basis, SA tonnage is up 2.3% compared to the first four months of 2021.

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, was 114.1 in April, down 7.4% compared to March’s 123.2. ATA said its For-Hire Truck tonnage Index is dominated by contract freight rather than spot market freight.

“After eight straight gains totaling 6.9%, for-hire tonnage finally slid back in April. Despite being the largest sequential drop since August 2020, the index was still above where it started in 2022 and a year earlier,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello in a statement. “It is important to note that ATA’s for-hire tonnage data is dominated by contract freight with minimal amounts of spot market loads. The spot market has softened more than for-hire contract freight, as the market transitions back to pre-pandemic shares of contract versus spot market. While I expect contract freight to outperform spot market freight, the rate of growth will be slower than in 2021. Most contract carriers are still struggling with maintaining enough capacity, both equipment and drivers.”








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