Truck tonnage ‘solid’ in 2022, despite slowdown at end of year

U.S. for-hire truck tonnage jumped 3.4% in 2022, marking its biggest yearly gain since 2018, the American Trucking Associations (ATA) reported.

December tonnage came in at a 0.4% increase over November.

Truck tonnage chart

“Despite the small gain in December, for-hire truck tonnage clearly decelerated during the final quarter in 2022,” said ATA chief economist Bob Costello.

“In fact, tonnage outperformed some other key metrics that drive truck freight, like housing starts and factory output during the final month of the year. This is probably because contract truckload freight is still outperforming the spot market and less-than-truckload freight after underperforming both of those sectors in 2021.”

December’s seasonally adjusted gain of 0.3% was the 16th straight increase year over year, but the smallest over that period.

“Despite weakening in the second half, 2022 overall was a solid year for truck freight tonnage,” Costello said. “The index’s yearly gains were primarily driven by strength in the first half of 2022, so despite a marked slowdown as the year ended, for the year as a whole, tonnage posted a very solid year overall.”

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