US tonnage declines, but fleets are busy: ATA

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ARLINGTON, Va. — US truck tonnage dropped 0.2% in August, following a revised 0.8% decline in July, according to the most recent figures from the American Trucking Associations (ATA).

ATA had initially reported a 1.3% decline in July.

Compared to August 2010, seasonally-adjusted tonnage was up 5.2% in August and 4.5% year-over-year in July.

“Freight has been going sideways for much of this year, but it isn’t falling significantly either, which suggests the US economy just might skirt another recession,” said ATA chief economist Bob Costello.

He added US truck fleets have about as much freight as they can currently handle.   

“In part, this is due to less industry supply,” he added. “The number of trucks operated by the truckload industry is still down about 12% from the height in late 2006, yet tonnage levels are about the same as in late 2006. Additionally, most carriers are finding it very difficult to hire new truck drivers, which mean they can’t add too many trucks.”

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