For-hire truck tonnage rose 5.9 percent in 2011, the biggest year-over-year freight gain for trucking since 1998, the American Trucking Associations said Tuesday.
The year ended with a surge in freight, with truck tonnage rising 6.8 percent from November and 10.5 percent from December 2010, according to the ATA. The increase in the seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index underscores the growing strength of U.S. manufacturing and domestic freight in late 2011.
“While I’m not surprised that tonnage increased in December, I am surprised at the magnitude of the gain,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello.
The truck tonnage index was almost flat in November, rising only 0.3 percent from October. Year-over-year, truck tonnage increased 6.1 percent in November.
The December tonnage surge also points to last-minute inventory restocking as holiday shopping and shipping patterns move closer to Christmas Day.
“Not only did truck tonnage increase due to solid manufacturing output in December, but also from some likely inventory restocking,” Costello said.