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Truck tonnage ticked up to close out 2022

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Trucking news and briefs for Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023:

ATA Truck Tonnage Index December 2022ATA's Truck Tonnage Index for December increased by 0.4%.ATAAmerican Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index rose 0.4% in December after decreasing 2.5% in November. In December, the index equaled 115.2 (2015=100) versus 114.8 in November.

“Despite the small gain in December, for-hire truck tonnage clearly decelerated during the final quarter in 2022,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “In fact, tonnage outperformed some other key metrics that drive truck freight, like housing starts and factory output during the final month of the year. This is probably because contract truckload freight is still outperforming the spot market and less-than-truckload freight after underperforming both of those sectors in 2021.”

For all of 2022, tonnage was up 3.4%, which was the best annual gain since 2018. “Despite weakening in the second half, 2022 overall was a solid year for truck freight tonnage,” Costello said. “The index’s yearly gains were primarily driven by strength in the first half of 2022, so despite a marked slowdown as the year ended, for the year as a whole, tonnage posted a very solid year overall.”

Compared with December 2021, the SA index increased 0.3%, which was the sixteenth straight year-over-year gain, but the smallest over that period. In November, the index was up 0.8% from a year earlier.

The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 112.6 in December, 1.8% below the November level (114.6).

FTR Shippers Conditions Index November 2022Shippers' conditions returned to positive territory in November after two months in the negative.FTRFTR’s Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) improved in November to 3.0 from the previous -0.3 reading.  A more favorable freight environment and lower fuel costs boosted the index into positive territory after two months in the negative range.