Truck tonnage in March saw largest loss since pandemic

by Today's Trucking

U.S. for-hire truck tonnage plummeted 5.4% in March, the largest sequential decline seen since April 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic.

The drop comes on the heels of a 0.9% increase in February.

Truck tonnage chart

“After increasing a total of 2.6% during the three previous months, March’s sequential decline was the largest monthly drop since April 2020 during the start of the pandemic,” said ATA chief economist Bob Costello.

“Falling home construction, decreasing factory output and soft retail sales all hurt contract freight tonnage – which dominates ATA’s tonnage index – during the month. Despite the largest year over year drop since October 2020, contract freight remains more robust than the spot market, which continues to see prolonged weakness.”

Tonnage was down 5% year over year – the first y-o-y decrease since August 2021. For the first quarter, tonnage was 0.6% below the same period last year.

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