5-26-23 Update

Tonnage in April Drops 3.4% Year-Over-Year

Truck tonnage in April fell on both an annual and month-to-month basis as freight activity remains slow, American Trucking Associations said May 23.

Tonnage slumped 3.4% last month to 112.7 when measured against the same period a year ago, and dipped 1.7% compared with March results, according to ATA’s seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index. The index was 115.8 in April 2022.

ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said the year-over-year decline is the largest decrease since February 2021. The April annual decline follows a 2.4% year-over-year drop in March.

AI opens new frontier in supply chain planning

Last year broke the crystal balls. Some of the largest, most sophisticated companies in the world overbought or overproduced inventory by many millions of dollars last year. The reason, at its simplest, is that consumers did not behave as predicted.

Planners don’t have the luxury of blaming consumers for not acting according to their forecasts — especially when many of those customers were reacting to historic inflation in food, fuel and housing.

“Demand planning went out the door for three years,” said Rick Jordon, senior managing director with FTI Consulting. “Now they’re picking it back up, because they have all this excess inventory everywhere. And they’ve forgotten how to do it, or they didn’t do it well before.”

Retailers Near Restocking as Inventory Paring Winds Down

Big retailers are signaling they are nearly done paring back their excess inventories and are preparing to fill their shelves with new merchandise this fall, potentially brightening prospects for freight carriers looking for revived restocking to drive a shipping rebound.

Target’s inventories at the end of the last quarter were 16% lower than the same period a year ago and Walmart cut inventories in its U.S. store operations by 9% over the past year, slashing hundreds of millions of dollars of goods from their balance sheets and suggesting space is opening up in their jammed supply chains.

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