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Truck tonnage jumped 3.7% in May compared with year-ago levels, marking the ninth consecutive year-over-year gain and the largest since April 2021, American Trucking Associations announced.
The ATA For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index equaled 117.1 last month, compared with 113.3 a year ago. The May result also represented a 1.4% gain over 116.5 in April. For purposes of the index 2015=100.
ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said the freight market is shifting amid a busy environment for loads.
“The transition in the freight market continued in May, with the index hitting the second-highest level since the pandemic started,” he said. “The traditional spot market has slowed as freight softens, but these contract carriers are backfilling any losses in freight with loads from shippers that are reducing spot market exposure. Essentially the market is transitioning back to pre-pandemic shares of contract versus spot market.”
The ATA index is dominated by contract freight, he noted.
Across the first five months of 2022, tonnage is up 2.7% compared with year-ago levels even as the U.S. economy battles inflationary headwinds. Costello noted there were some warning signs for trucking in the May results.
“Overall, economic indicators that are important to trucking slowed in May, including retail sales, housing starts and manufacturing output,” he said.
According to ATA, trucking represents 72.5% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 10.23 billion tons of freight in 2020, and motor carriers collected $732.3 billion, or 80.4% of total revenue earned by all transport modes, ATA said.
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