Truck tonnage rose 3.7 percent from a year ago in July, but was flat compared to June and is likely to decelerate, according to the American Trucking Associations.
On a sequential basis, the ATA For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index stayed flat in July after rising a revised 1.1 percent in June and contracting in April and May as the economy slowed.
“July’s reading reflects an economy that has lost some steam, but hasn’t stalled,” ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said Tuesday. “Certainly, there has been some better economic news recently, but I continue to believe we will see some deceleration in tonnage during the second half of the year.”
The 3.7 percent annualized growth rate was an improvement from 3.2 percent year-over-year growth in June. The index rose 3.8 percent year-over-year in May.
Costello forecasts 3 to 3.5 percent growth in truck tonnage in 2012 compared with a more robust 2011 — especially last year’s August to December shipping surge.
A slowdown in new factory orders and rising inventories will affect truck freight volumes, he said, referring to an increase in inventory-to-sales ratios.