ECONOMIC WATCH: Truck tonnage dips in July

ARLINGTON, Va. – U.S. for-hire truck tonnage dropped 5.1% in July, after a 8.9% surge in June, according to the latest data from the American Trucking Associations (ATA).

“After a very strong June, for-hire contract freight tonnage, which dominates ATA’s index, slipped in July for a couple of reasons,” said ATA chief economist Bob Costello.

“It is likely that tonnage was down because many fleets didn’t have the capacity to take advantage of stronger retail freight volumes. Therefore, much of that overflow freight moved to the spot market, which did increase in July. Other ATA data shows that for-hire truckload fleets are operating 3% fewer trucks this summer than a year earlier, so it can be difficult to take on a significant amount of additional freight. Also, while retail volumes have snapped back strongly, manufacturing output and international trade freight is lagging well behind.”  

The index remained 3.3% above May volumes, but seasonally adjusted tonnage was 8.3% off July 2019 levels, marking the fourth straight year-over-year decline. Year-to-date, tonnage is down 3.2%.

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