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The trend in truck tonnage is moving in the same direction as rail freight.  Though the comps are very easy on a year over year basis tonnage was still down 3.5%.  Much like the trend we’ve been seeing in freight volumes the trend is certainly positive, but the year over year comps remain very week.  There is no denying that the economy is coming off its very low trough, but the strength of the rebound is certainly in question.  From the ATA:

ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said that tonnage is moving in the right direction. “Slowly, but surely, truck freight has started the recovery process and November’s solid increase is a very positive sign,” Costello noted. He said that November’s tonnage levels were pushed higher by improved economic activity, as well as by an inventory correction that is near completion. “Truck freight had been hurt by both slow economic output and bloated inventories; however, we now have evidence that the inventories are in much better shape, which will not be such a drag on truck freight volumes.” Costello continued to be cautious about the future though. “While the economy and trucking is improving, the industry should not get overly excited about the sizeable increase in November. I continue to believe that both the economy and truck tonnage will exhibit starts and stops in the months ahead, but the general trend should be for moderate growth.”

Source: ATA