Truck tonnage spikes in December, but down overall on the year

by Today's Trucking

For-hire truck tonnage was down 3.3% in 2020, but ended the year on a high note with a 7.4% jump in December, according to the American Trucking Associations For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index.

“Tonnage ended last year on a high note,” said ATA chief economist Bob Costello. “The index not only registered the largest monthly gain since June, but it also had the first year-over-year increase since March. Freight continues to be helped by strong consumption, a retail inventory restocking, and robust single-family home construction. With the stimulus cheques recently issued and with a strong possibility of more in the near future, I would expect truck freight to continue rising.”  

(Source: American Trucking Associations)

December tonnage was up 2.3% year-over-year. The 3.3% loss on the year matched the gain seen in 2019. “Because of the pandemic, 2020 was obviously a very challenging year for the economy overall, and that is reflecting in the tonnage index’s dip from the previous year,” Costello said. “Despite that, truck tonnage clearly outperformed the broader economy as freight continued to move in the face of a myriad of Covid-related challenges faced by the country.”

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