I was cautiously optimistic about September freight volume, but volume and rates peaked early in the month. Since then, trucking conditions seem to be relatively stable. We may still see another surge of freight before the third quarter ends next week, and that would definitely lift September volume above expectations.
Tuesday is a tough day to close the quarter. Most long hauls tend to start on Monday mornings, so Tuesday is dominated by back hauls, and the longest outbound trips are still in progress. A portion of the available capacity is tied up on Tuesdays, which could drive rates up for a day or two, at least in the major outbound markets. I will be able to tell you more about that next week.
Truck freight tonnage set a record in August, with a 4.5% increase compared to August 2013, according to the American Trucking Associations For-Hire Truck Freight Tonnage Index. Year-to-date, however, the ATA numbers are up by 3.1% on the seasonally adjusted index and 2.6% on the not-seasonally adjusted version.