American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 1% in December, following a decrease of 0.9% during November. In December, the index equaled 135.6 (2000=100), up from 134.3 in November, and 0.1% below the all-time high of 135.8 reached in January 2015.
Compared with December 2014, the SA index increased 1.1%, which was better than November’s 0.2% year-over-year gain. For all of 2015, compared with 2014, tonnage was up 2.6%.
The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 132.7 in December, which was 2.9% above the previous month (129.0).
“Tonnage ended 2015 on a strong note, but it was not strong for the year as a whole,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “With year-over-year gains averaging just 1.2% over the last four months, there was a clear deceleration in truck tonnage.
“At the expense of sounding like a broken record, I remain concerned about the high level of inventories throughout the supply chain. The total business inventory-to-sales record is at the highest level in over a decade, excluding the Great Recession period. This will have a negative impact on truck freight volumes over the next few months at least. And, this inventory cycle is overriding any strength from consumer spending and housing at the moment.”