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11/20/2012 12:00:00 PM Write a Letter to the Editor Write a letter to the Editor

October Truck Tonnage Declines 2.1%

First Downturn Since ’09 Attributed in Part to Sandy

Larry Smith/Trans Pixs

Truck tonnage declined 2.1% in October, the first year-over-year decline in three years, American Trucking Associations said Tuesday.

ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello attributed the downturn in part to fallout from Hurricane Sandy, though he said it was impossible to determine the storm’s exact effect.

Month-to-month tonnage fell 3.8% from September following a 0.4% downturn the previous month, ATA said in its monthly seasonally adjusted for-hire truck tonnage report.

The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents tonnage actually hauled by fleets, rose 7.7% in October from September to a 123.7 reading. ATA uses the year 2000 as a 100-reading baseline.

Tonnage is up 2.9% year-to-date compared with the same period last year. October’s year-over-year decline is the first since November 2009.

A large drop in fuel shipments into Sandy-affected areas put downward pressure on October tonnage because fuel is heavy freight, ATA’s Costello said in a statement.

“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,” Costello said.

Excluding the storm’s effects, he said tonnage declined “along with factory output and consumer spending on tangible-goods.”

ATA calculates the tonnage each month based on reports by its member trucking companies.

By Transport Topics

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