“The U.S. LEI increased slightly in February, after back-to-back monthly declines, but housing permits, stock prices, consumer expectations, and new orders remain sources of weakness,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, Director of Business Cycles and Growth Research at The Conference Board. “Although the LEI’s six-month growth rate has moderated considerably in recent months, the outlook remains positive with little chance of a downturn in the near-term.”
News / Industry News
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) amended the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention to require shippers to provide the Verified Gross Mass (“VGM”) of containers carrying cargo before those containers can be loaded aboard a vessel. Without a VGM, the amendments also prohibit the vessel operator from loading a packed container. The SOLAS amendments are effective July 1, 2016; are not expected to be postponed; and, are globally binding – all Countries party to the convention have undertaken to implement amendments. There is no exception to this requirement. If the acceptable VGM documentation is not timely provided by the shipper, that container will not be loaded on board the vessel. As your NVOCC or Freight Forwarder, MIQ will require from your or your supplier the following data:
United States-bound import volumes appear to be taking steps to more normalized seasonal patterns, according to the most recent edition of the Port Tracker report issued today by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and maritime consultancy Hackett Associates.
Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 215,000 in March, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 5.0 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment increased in retail trade, construction, and health care. Job losses occurred in manufacturing and mining.
Institute for Supply Management
Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in March for the first time in the last six months, while the overall economy grew for the 82nd consecutive month, say the nation’s supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®.
American Trucking Associations
American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index jumped 7.2% in February, following a revised 0.3% reduction during January. In February, the index equaled 144 (2000=100), up from 134.3 in January. February’s level is an all-time high.
On Sept 4th – 6th, the city of Hangzhou, Zhejiang will host the 11th G-20 meeting; the first ever G-20 to be held in China. Fashion brands, retailers and other importers are facing the potential of a supply chain disruption, as Shanghai factories prepare for partial and complete closure in advance of the summit which will be located nearest to China’s largest city.
Import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports should see its traditional buildup toward the summer despite difficult comparisons with last year’s unusual patterns, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.
U.S. Department of Transportation
The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI), which is based on the amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry, rose 0.5 percent in January from December, rising for the second consecutive month, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ (BTS). The January 2016 index level (122.2) was 29.0 percent above the April 2009 low during the most recent recession.
Cass Information Systems, Inc.
The number of North American freight shipments in February shot up 8.3 percent from January, erasing January’s decline, while expenditures for freight shipments gained 6.3 percent (not quite overcoming January’s drop). The strong growth in freight in February is the expected trend, but the recent four-month slide in freight traffic put the starting point for 2016 significantly lower than in the last several years. Economic growth slowed more than expected in the fourth quarter of 2015 and continued into January. The robust turnaround this month signals improvement, but current economic conditions do not support a robust rebound. Global markets are still weak—especially with China’s economic turmoil—which is reducing demand; the U.S. dollar remains strong, making our export goods more expensive on world markets; consumers are in a stronger position with positive income growth, but still remain conservative in their spending; and more growth has been seen in the purchase of services (eating out, hotels, airfare, movies, etc.) rather than goods purchases. Inventories remain very high in the goods sectors, which has reduced imports and domestic manufacturing.