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April 27, 2007 2:30 PM, EDT

March Trucking Index Gains

Larry Smith/Trans Pixs

American Trucking Associations’ truck tonnage index rose 1.6% in March from a year ago, marking the first year-over-year increase since June, ATA said Thursday.

The seasonally adjusted index rose 1.2% from February, increasing to a reading of 114.6 from 113.3. The not seasonally adjusted index jumped 15.7% from February to 111.1, ATA said.
ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said the year-over-year improvement was a positive sign, but that the industry was still in flux.

“The latest increases, both monthly and year-over-year, bode well for the industry, although the year-over-year changes could still fall back into negative territory during some future months,” Costello said. “Many motor carriers are telling us anecdotally that April has been filled with starts and stops.” 

He projected the trucking industry will see a gradual improvement in volumes as the year progresses due to an inventory correction, which should boost truck volumes, and a better economic outlook for 2008.

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