US truck tonnage up slightly in May (July 08, 2008)

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ARLINGTON, Va. — US truck tonnage edged up 0.5% in May and was up 3.3% over May 2007, marking the seventh consecutive year-over-year gain, according to the most recent data collected by the American Trucking Associations.

The association also revised its April figures to show a 0.6% decline rather than the 1.1% drop first reported. While the modest increase is being viewed with optimism by the ATA, the group’s chief economist Bob Costello cautioned against getting too excited.

“The fact that tonnage increased on a month-to-month basis for the first time in four months, as well as achieving its largest year-over-year gain since February of this year, is quite positive,” Costello said. “However, year-over-year comparisons continue to reflect the weakness of 2007 rather than robust growth in 2008.”

“Rising fuel prices are a double-edged sword for the industry,” Costello added. “Since trucks haul virtually all consumer goods at some point in the supply chain, the industry is significantly impacted both directly through high diesel prices and indirectly as consumers have less money to spend on truck-transported goods.”

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