Is the Recent Tonnage Boost Part of a Seasonal Pattern?
Recently the American Trucking Associations reported that a dip in tonnage during the month of July was recovered in August. While the drop was more than 2%, figures now show that for-hire truck tonnage has increased by nearly 6%.
This is up nearly 6% since last year, which is noted as the largest tonnage gain year-over-year since May. Bob Costello, ATA’s chief economist noted that 2016 still continues to be an unpredictable year for the trucking industry. While the increase was surprising, it was a welcomed change after a year of poor numbers in trucking.
He also noted that there appears to be no seasonal pattern in play. While the month of August in previous years was less-than-impressive for for-hire truck tonnage, August 2016 showed a surprising jump.
FTR, a well-known research firm, held an annual transportation conference last week. At the conference, Noel Perry noted that the overall peak season for trucking may actually be shifting from fall to summer. Though current numbers seem to support this argument, Costello isn’t certain that a trend is at work.
He noted that he expects continued uncertainty and “softer than normal” activity within the trucking industry throughout the year. Though this improvement has many optimistic, it may not be a deciding factor for the performance of the trucking industry as a whole.
An ongoing inventory switch and compliance process may have much to do with the sluggish performance trucking has seen in 2016. But with general economic conditions showing moderate improvement, many hope that trucking will see more positive trends in the future.