The freight tonnage carried by for-hire trucks fell 4 percent in January from December, when it surged 6.4 percent, the American Trucking Associations said.
The ATA’s monthly, seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index still rose 3.6 percent year-over-year, underscoring trucking’s freight gain since the recession.
ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said the drop in tonnage probably reflected a larger than expected gain in December, rather than a real slowdown in freight.
“I’m not surprised that tonnage fell on a seasonally adjusted basis in January simply due to the fact that December was so strong,” said Costello. December’s increase was the largest month-to-month gain in truck tonnage since January 2005.
“I’m still optimistic about truck tonnage,” he said. “While many fleets said January was normal, they are also saying that February has been pretty good so far.”
The ATA revised its for-hire tonnage increase for 2011 down a tenth of a percentage point to 5.8 percent, which matches trucking’s tonnage gain in 2010.