Trucking Tonnage at Highest Point Since COVID-19 Started
We do not post monthly updates for the ATA’s Truck Tonnage Index, which tracks a quality estimate of the total weight of freight hauled by all trucks in a month when compared to 2015. In any case, this is a special time and a cause for celebration, as the ATA Truck Tonnage Index is a slight nudge away from being equal to what it was before a certain virus started its economic devastation across the country and the world.
Hindsight is said to be 20/20, but it can also be sardonic. Here is a graph depicting the ATA Truck Tonnage Index before the pandemic started (image courtesy of the ATA itself).
You only get one guess as to what happened to the Index in the following month.
The ATA Truck Tonnage Index was 120.4 in March 2020. It bottomed out at 106.1 in May that year. Since then, it has been climbing, stumbling, and climbing again, trying to return to its former glory.
That time may just be around the corner, as the ATA reports the Truck Tonnage Index to be 119 for August 2022. For comparison, February 2020 was 119.1. Here is what it looks like on a graph (graph compiled by the ATA).
Of course, measuring the total amount of goods shipped by weight means that there are two factors involved: the number of truckloads heading out, and how much they weigh. Regardless of whether the increase is from more trucks hauling inflatable pool tubes or if the items are of heavier weight such as automobiles and construction materials, or some combination of both, it is a good sign for the state of the trucking industry and the economy.
With the holiday season only a few months out, it is almost certain we will see the ATA Truck Tonnage Index cross the 120.4 threshold before the start of the new year. Once again, the trucking industry has shown its resiliency in recovering from the coronavirus pandemic.The only remaining question is how high the Index will get before the next massive event; we certainly hope it will be a long time before that happens!
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