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December 2013 Industry News

“The modest rise in the Leading Economic Index in October follows the strong advances recorded in the prior two months, which helps lift the six-month annualized growth rate to 5.1 percent from 3.7 percent in the previous six months. The recent increase in the index supports our forecast that the U.S. economy is poised to grow somewhat faster at 2.3 in 2014 compared to 1.6 percent in 2013. Within the details, the sub-indexes contributing positively to growth are the financial, housing and manufacturing variables. Restraining growth is the ongoing caution of businesses that continue to keep tight reins on capital expenditures.”

– Kathy Bostjancic Director of Macroeconomic Analysis at The Conference Board

December Economic Update

Institute for Supply Management (ISM) Manufacturing Report on Business

Economic activity in the manufacturing sector increased again in November

  • 50 represents the dividing line between expansion and contraction for the index of the below chart; which covers the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) and new orders.
  • The PMI reading increased to 57.3% in November, which is the highest reading in 2013; the previous reading in October was 56.4%.
  • New Orders increased in November by 3.0%; which raised the reading to 63.6%.

November Manufacturing ISM Data

Expanding Manufacturing Industries

  1. Plastics & Rubber Products
  2. Textile Mills
  3. Furniture & Related Products
  4. Primary Metals
  5. Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products
  6. Paper Products
  7. Printing & Related Support Activities
  8. Petroleum & Coal Products
  9. Miscellaneous Manufacturing
  10. Electrical Equipment Appliances & Components
  11. Transportation Equipment
  12. Chemical Products
  13. Computer & Electronic Products
  14. Nonmetallic Mineral Products
  15. Fabricated Metal Products

Contracting Manufacturing Industries

  1. Apparel, Leather & Allied Products
  2. Wood Products
  3. Machinery

Transportation Market Update

Truckload Index Category Monthly Reading Previous Monthly Reading Trend Direction
American Trucking Associations (SA) seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage 124.00 127.5 – 2.8% Decreasing
Cass Freight Index Report Shipments 1.105 1.116 – 1.0% Decreasing
Cass Freight Index Report Expenditures 2.524 2.508 + .6% Increasing
Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) 114.3 115.1 – 0.7 Decreasing
Trucking Employment + 8400 Jobs + 2400 Jobs Positive
NAFTA Statistics for August 59.4% of the $94.4 Billion of U.S. – NAFTA trade was transported by truck in September; this is up 5.4% YOY

“Despite October’s month-to-month decrease, we saw a very robust year-over-year increase and I’m seeing some good signs out of the trucking industry that suggests the economy may be a little stronger than we think,” he said. “Specifically, the heavy freight sectors, like tank truck, have been helping tonnage this year. But in the third quarter, generic dry van truckload freight saw the best quarterly gains since 2010. I view this positively for the economy. I view it positively for trucking. Now, we have to see if it continues.”

– Bob Costello ATA Chief Economist


Recent Statements from National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates

  • U.S. Imports handled 1.43 million TEU in October, which was up 6.4% YOY from October 2012.
  • According to the recent edition from Port Tracker from the National Retail Federation (NRF) and maritime consultancy Hackett Associates, the report shows that August through September cumulatively accounted for 4.35 million cargo containers, which was up 4.3% YOY for the same two months in 2012.
  • 2013 is expected to finish off with 16.2 million total TEU’s imported, which would be up 2.3% up from 2012, when the count was at 15.8 million TEU.
  • NRF has predicted that 2013 holiday sales will be up 3.9% annually; reaching $602.1 billion.

US December Import Cargo Volume

Transpacific Eastbound

*Note: The ocean carriers have announced their next round of GRI’s and PSS (Peak Season Surcharge). Speculation with ocean carriers for January 15th GRI has already begun; levels are $240/20′, $300/40′, $340/40’HC, $380/45′.

December Transpacific Eastbound Update


Domestic & Global Economy

Truckload Capacity & Volumes

Global Market Update