Truck tonnage in April fell on both an annual and month-to-month basis as freight activity remains slow, American Trucking Associations said May 23. Tonnage slumped 3.4% last month to 112.7 when measured against the same period a year ago, and dipped 1.7% compared with March results, according to ATA’s seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index. The index was 115.8 in April 2022. ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said the year-over-year decline is the largest decrease since February 2021. The April annual decline follows a 2.4% year-over-year drop in March. “While the broader economy continues to surprise and thus far stave off an expected recession, the freight economy is starkly different,” Costello said. “The goods portion of the economy is soft, and as a result even contract truck freight is now falling, albeit not nearly as much as the spot market.” Costello added, “The tonnage index hit the lowest level since September 2021 in April and has now fallen on a year-over-year basis for two straight months.”ATA’s For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index is dominated by contract freight as opposed to spot market freight. The federation calculates the tonnage index based on surveys from its membership and has been doing so since the 1970s. According to ATA, trucks hauled 10.93 billion tons of freight in 2021. Motor carriers collected $875.5 billion, 80.8%, of total revenue earned by all transport modes. This is a preliminary figure and subject to change in the final report issued around the fifth day of each month. The report includes month-to-month and year-over-year results, relevant economic comparisons and key financial indicators. Meanwhile, another key indicator of the trucking and freight industry is showing the dramatic slowdown.
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