U.S. trucks hauled 2.4% more cargo in September compared to August, marking the largest sequential increase in the American Trucking Associations’(ATA) monthly Truck Tonnage Index so far in 2021, the group said this week. Year over year, the September index rose 1.7%.
ATA officials said the increase is due to each truck hauling more cargo, not from an increase in the number trucks on the road.
“It is good that tonnage rose in September, but it is important to note that this is happening because each truck is hauling more, not from an increase in the amount of equipment operated as contract carriers in the for-hire truckload market continue to shrink from the lack of new trucks and drivers,” ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said in a statement. “The drivers of truck freight, including retail, construction, and manufacturing, plus a surge in imports, are helping keep demand high for trucking services.”
The seasonally adjusted index registered 112.9 in September, compared to 110.2 in August. The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, was 113.2 in September, 1% below the August level (114.3). In calculating the index, 100 represents 2015. ATA says its monthly For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index is dominated by contract freight as opposed to spot market freight. The index is calculated from surveys of ATA members.