ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Nov. 6, 2003) — U.S. trucking activity increased measurably in September and the table is set for a continued rebound, according to the American Trucking Associations (ATA).
“It is encouraging that tonnage bounced back in September after the surprisingly large decrease in August,” said Bob Costello, ATA's chief economist, in a prepared statement, “but it is very clear that motor carriers are dealing with a large degree of volatility in the amount of freight to haul.
“I continue to believe that the fundamentals are set for the recovery in truck tonnage to remain on course,” Mr. Costello said. “Extremely lean inventories, growth in orders for manufactured goods and increasing retail sales will keep trucks moving. Additionally, the tightening supply of available trucks will benefit those carriers that have survived the rough past couple of years.”
The ATA tracks trucking activity through its seasonally adjusted Truck Tonnage Index. This index increased 10.6 percent in September, erasing nearly the entire drop in August, when the index fell a revised 9.6 percent.
ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys from its membership. This is a preliminary figure and subject to change in the final report issued around the seventh day of every month. The association releases a full report on the index during the first full week of every month.
Trucks hauled 8.9 billion tons of freight in 2002—or 67.9 percent of all tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation. Motor carriers collected $585 billion dollars, or 87 percent of total revenue earned by all transport modes, the ATA said.
The ATA is the largest national trade association for the trucking industry.