Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sandy helps drive truck tonnage down

Written by  Luther S. Miller, Senior Consulting Editor

Hurricane Sandy was partly responsible for driving intercity truck tonnage down an estimated 3.8% in October. after a decline of 0.4% in September.

But Bob Costello, chief economist for the American Trucking Associations (ATA), noted, "Excluding the hurricane impacts, I still think truck tonnage is decelerating along with factory output and consumer spending on tangible-goods." He said October's drop was the third consecutive decline, totaling 4.7%.

Costello noted that a large drop in fuel shipments into the affected area likely put downward pressure on October's tonnage level since fuel is heavy freight, in addition to reductions in other freight.

"I'd expect some positive impact on truck tonnage as the rebuilding starts in the areas impacted by Sandy, although that boost may only be modest in November and December," he said.