Truck tonnage ended the year strong in 2012, according to the American Trucking Associations’ for-hire truck tonnage index.
Following a 3.9-percent rise in November, the ATA measured a 2.8-percent increase in its index for December.
These month-over-month increases were the biggest gains of the year, but December’s year-over-year growth tells a different story. Compared to December 2011, last month’s total showed a decline of 2.3 percent, the lowest year-over-year growth since November 2009. Tonnage for the entire year was outpaced by 2011’s growth.
After showing some improvement, the tonnage index might experience another hit in the first few months of 2013.
“As paychecks shrink for all households due to higher taxes, I’m expecting a weak first quarter for tonnage and the broader economy,” the ATA’s chief economist, Bob Costello, said in a statement. “Since trucks account for the vast majority of deliveries in the retail supply chain, any reduction in consumer spending will have ramifications on truck tonnage levels.” - Jon Ross