Econintersect: The American Trucking Associations’ (ATA) trucking index increased 6.8% in December 2011 following a rise of 0.3% in November 2011. Compared with December 2010, seasonally adjusted tonnage was up a solid 10.5%.
For calendar year 2011, truck tonnage was up 5.9%.
“While I’m not surprised that tonnage increased in December, I am surprised at the magnitude of the gain,” ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said. Costello noted that it was the largest month-to-month increase since January 2005.
“Not only did truck tonnage increase due to solid manufacturing output in December, but also from some likely inventory restocking. Inventories, especially at the retail level, are exceedingly lean, and I suspect that tonnage was higher than expected as the supply chain did some restocking during the month.” he said.
Econintersect’s analysis shows trucking has been in a tight range all of 2011 – but the December tonnage increase put the index at highs not seen before, and the largest year-over-year gain since July 1998.