Truck tonnage increases in October

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Truck tonnage in October posted the biggest year-over-year increase since just before summer, the American Trucking Associations said, as consumers increased their spending in anticipation of a shopping season busy holiday.

The ATA Truck Rental Tonnage Index rose to 113 last month, an increase of 1.8% from October 2020 and an improvement of 0.4% from the 112.6 result of September 2021 For the three-month period, tonnage increased by 2.9% combined. , noted Bob Costello, ATA chief economist, in line with a general upturn in economic activity.

“The combination of strong retail sales, restocking and generally higher factory output offset some areas of weaker freight growth, like house building, in October,” he said. declared.

Since the start of the year, tonnage is up 0.1% compared to the first ten months of 2020.

“Economic growth remains on solid footing, which is good for road freight volumes going forward,” Costello said. “The biggest problem in the industry is not the quantity of demand, but the assurance of having an adequate supply. It is good to see that the fleets have been able to carry more tonnage in recent months in the face of a limited supply. “

Costello

Earlier this year, Costello estimated that the trucking industry is short of more than 80,000 truck drivers. A provision of the recently passed federal infrastructure package creates a training program to prepare drivers under the age of 21 to drive Class 8 trucks in interstate commerce.

The ATA tonnage index is dominated by contract freight as opposed to spot market freight. The ATA calculates the index based on surveys of its members and has been doing so since the 1970s.

Two other trucking indices also posted strong results last month.

The DAT Truckload Volume Index hit an all-time high of 239 in October, down from 216 a year ago. As of September, the number was 233.

“Congested ports, intermodal stations and warehouses weighed on the number of loads moved last month,” DAT chief analyst Ken Adamo said in the report. “As a result, retailers and online sellers have taken higher prices for full loads to ensure their freight is positioned for success for the November and December buying period. “

Road signs

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DAT also said spot rates for the dry van and refrigerated cargo segments were skyrocketing. The national average rate for van loadings in the spot market increased 3 cents to $ 2.87 per mile, which includes a fuel surcharge. The average rate has risen for five consecutive months and is up 47 cents year over year.

For the sixth consecutive month, spot rates for refrigerated and flatbed products averaged over $ 3.00 per mile. The refrigerated fare increased four cents per mile to a new high of $ 3.29 per mile.

Flat rates declined by one cent to $ 3.08 per mile on an annual basis amid seasonal decline in construction and heavy machinery freight.

The monthly Logistics Managers Index survey for October was 72.6, a point above last year’s 71.6.

Dale rogers

Rogers

“The October reading of 72.6 continues the long period of logistical expansion that we have followed throughout the year,” said Dale Rogers, Arizona State University professor and one of the authors of index. “Overall growth has now passed 70 months – a level we would characterize as a significant expansion – nine straight months and 12 of the last 14.”

Researchers from Arizona State, Colorado State University, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rutgers University, and the University of Nevada at Reno, in collaboration with the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, publish the report, which is a combination of eight unique elements that make up the logistics industry, including inventory levels and costs, warehousing capacity, utilization and pricing, and transport capacity, use and prices. October’s number was 0.4 higher than September’s reading of 72.2.

Any reading above 50 indicates that logistics are expanding; a reading below 50 is indicative of a shrinking logistics industry.

The National Retail Federation said nearly 2 million more people are expected to participate in holiday shopping between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber ​​Monday this year, even though consumers have maintained a trend to start holiday shopping earlier. during this year.

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