In the first positive growth since July, the American Trucking Association recorded a 3.7-percent increase in its seasonally-adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index in November, erasing the -3.7-percent result from October.
Compared to November 2011, the tonnage index rose by 1 percent, beating a 2.1-percent year-over-year decline in October. Without the seasonal adjustment, November's tonnage result came in at 6.5-percent lower than October's result.
Hurricane Sandy and lingering uncertainty about the "Fiscal Cliff" negatively impacted the trucking market in October and November. Sandy will also bring a boost to the industry, however, as ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello sees the opportunity for increased trucking activity in the Northeast tied to the rebuilding effort. This will occur, he said, later in the spring. This activity won't be enough to offset slower tonnage growth next year, he added.
“Outside of Sandy, if the fiscal cliff isn’t fixed in time, expect
a slowdown in tonnage early next year as paychecks shrink for all
households,” he said in a statement. “Since trucks account for the vast majority
of deliveries in the retail supply, any reduction in consumer spending
will hurt.” - Jon Ross