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The ATA‘s truck tonnage index jumped 3.8% in January – the highest reading since January 2008. This was an 8% climb versus January 2010. The total increase for 2010 was 5.7% when compared to 2009. Overall, the data is consistent with the much better economic conditions, however, risks loom. Bob Costello, Chief Economist of the ATA says oil increases pose a serious risk:

ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said that he was very pleased with January’s robust gain, especially considering the winter storms during the month. “Many fleets told us that freight was solid in January, although operations were as challenge due to the winter storms that hit large parts of the country.” Costello also stated that the latest tonnage numbers indicate that the economy is growing at a good clip early in 2011 and he expects a solid first half of the year. “At this point, the biggest threat is the recent run-up in oil prices, which could dampen consumer spending.”

Source: ATA

Source: ATA: Trucking Surged in January but Oil Prices Pose a Risk