The seasonally adjusted truck tonnage index fell 1% in December after a revised 1.4% gain in November, the American Trucking Assns. (ATA) has reported.
For the fourth quarter, tonnage gained a modest 0.1% over the previous quarter, and a heftier 3.5% boost year-over-year.
For all of 2004, tonnage was up 6.1% over 2003, making 2004 the strongest year since 1998, ATA said.
"Because freight volumes began improving during the fourth quarter of 2003, year-over-year comparisons became more difficult late last year, leading to a deceleration in the rate of growth during the fourth quarter," stated Bob Costello, ATA's chief economist.
"However, I continue to believe that all the ingredients necessary are in place for truck tonnage to grow at a solid pace in 2005,' he added, "but not as high as 2004 overall."