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US truck tonnage tightens sharply in March (April 25, 2008)

ARLINGTON, Va. -- US truck tonnage has continued its pattern of one step forward, two steps back, with the latest f...


ARLINGTON, Va. — US truck tonnage has continued its pattern of one step forward, two steps back, with the latest figures showing a 3.3% decline in March.

The American Trucking Associations (ATA) truck tonnage index showed its lowest levels since November, 2007 in March. Tonnage contracted 0.2% compared to March, 2007 the first time there’s been a year-over-year decrease in the index since October, 2007.

ATA chief economist Bob Costello had warned fleets not to be overly-optimistic about higher than expected tonnage numbers posted late last year and early this year.

“I’ve been concerned that the recent run-up in tonnage might not be sustainable, and clearly March’s figures confirmed that apprehension,” he said, point out the 3.3% drop was the largest month-to-month contraction since August, 2006.

“Truck tonnage often leads both recoveries and recessions, and the latest contraction suggests the economy and trucking are not out of the woods yet,” Costello added. “Surging diesel and gasoline prices are weighing heavily on consumers, and since trucks haul virtually all consumer goods at some point in the supply chain, the industry is going to be significantly impacted both directly through higher diesel prices and indirectly through lower freight volumes.”


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