July 23, 2013 4:00 PM, EDT

June Truck Tonnage Rises 5.9% to Record

Larry Smith/Trans Pixs

Truck tonnage rose 5.9% in June from the same month last year to a record high, American Trucking Associations said.

The index’s 125.9 reading edged May’s 125.8, which had been a record. ATA uses the year 2000 as a 100-reading baseline.

June’s 0.1% month-to-month upturn followed May’s 2.1% gain over April, which was slightly below the 2.3% first reported. May’s reading was originally reported as 126.

The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents tonnage actually hauled by fleets, slipped 5% from May.

Year to date, tonnage is up 4.7% over the same six-month period last year, ATA said Tuesday in its monthly seasonally adjusted for-hire truck tonnage report.

“The fact that tonnage didn’t fall back after the 2.1% surge in May is quite remarkable,” ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said. “While housing starts were down in June, tonnage was buoyed by other areas like auto production, which was very strong in June, and durable-goods output, which increased 0.5%.

“Robust auto sales also helped push retail sales higher, helping tonnage in June,” Costello said. “The trend this year is heavy freight, like autos and energy production, is growing faster than lighter freight, which is pushing truck tonnage up.”

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