January’s index was the highest on record, according to the ATA. Compared with January 2012, the index was up 6.5%, the best year-over-year result since December 2011.

“The trucking industry started 2013 with a bang, reflected in the best January tonnage report in five years,” ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said in a statement. “While I believe that the overall economy will be sluggish in the first quarter, trucking likely benefited in January from an inventory destocking that transpired late last year, thus boosting volumes more than normal early this year as businesses replenish those lean inventories.”
Fort Smith-based ABF Freight System reported during their Jan. 30 earnings conference call that tonnage-per-day for the first 27 days of January was up between 5% and 6% compared to 2012. However, those comparisons are from a slow 2012.

“We were comparing back to a period when ABF’s January 2012 was down nearly 8% versus January 2011,” explained David Humphrey, Arkansas Best vice president of investor relations and corporate communications.
Freight reports present mixed economic picture | Business, Political, and Cultural News in Fort Smith and Northwest Arkansas