ATA Research Shows Increase In Intermodal Freight Volumes Alongside Truck Tonnage Drops For July 2020

The American Trucking Association recently released their For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index data, which showed that shipping in North America dipped in 2020, compared to 2019, to the consternation of Titan Transline and other logistics providers in the region.

The ATA’s data shows that truck tonnage fell by 5.1% in July 2020 in comparison with the preceding month. Compared to the numbers of the same month in 2019, the numbers fell by 8.3%.

ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello shed some light on the data, saying that for-hire freight tonnage dropped in July due to a number of reasons, like fleets not having the ability to capitalize on stronger retail freight volumes. The overflow then went to the spot market, which resulted in that particular section seeing growth in July.

DAT Solutions’ data says that dry van spot rates went up by 12.2% from June to July, which is an increase of 10.3% from July 2019.

Costello notes that ATA’s other data shows that for-hire trucking aren’t running as heavily as before, with a 3% drop in active trucks, which accounts for the difficulty in dealing with additional freight. Additionally, manufacturing output and international trade is still behind, in spite of the return of retail volumes.

The ATA’s For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index dropped by 3.2% from January to July 2020, from the same time frame from 2019, showing the difficulties that logistics firms like Titan Transline are dealing with. The trucking industry accounts for the vast majority (72.5%) of tonnage handled by domestic freight, which includes retail goods and manufactured products.

On the flipside, a research note from the Journal of Commerce says that intermodal shopping is on the rise, with contract rates having been set for 2020.

Total intermodal volumes dropped by 11.9% for Q2 2020 compared to Q2 2019, as noted by the Intermodal Association of North America, with domestic containers and trailers dropping by 7%, and 14%. International shipping also took a hit, with a Q2 2020 drop of 15.4%.

Intermodal Association of North America President and CEO Joni Casey says that the Q2 2020 numbers paint a clear picture of the economic hit that COVID-19 struck, with slowed importations of goods, dropped diesel products, and other factors accounting for the change in international and domestic volumes.

Optimistically, though, Casey says that the IANA expects that the drop in Q2 2020 is the floor that the bounceback will start from moving forward.