Although the economy continued to be sluggish in November, our Freight Shipments Index was stronger than expected. Freight payments decreased, as capacity to carry was abundant. Black Friday sales—combined with Cyber Monday sales—were very strong this year as customers took advantage of reduced prices and discounts, placing orders before the cost of shipping goes up for the remainder of the holiday period.
News / Industry News
On December 9, 2015 Congress reached a final agreement on H.R. 644, the “Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015.” The bipartisan, bicameral trade legislation authorizes U.S. Customs and Border Protection and puts in place effective tools to: (a) strengthen trade enforcement at the border; and, (b) facilitate the efficient movement of legitimate trade and travel. The Bill now will go to the President for signature.
Import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to be essentially unchanged from last year this month as stores bring in the last round of merchandise for the holiday season, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.
“The U.S. LEI rose sharply in October, with the yield spread, stock prices, and building permits driving the increase,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, Director of Business Cycles and Growth Research at The Conference Board. “Despite lackluster third quarter growth, the economic outlook now appears to be improving. While the U.S. LEI’s six-month growth rate has moderated, the U.S. economy remains on track for continued expansion heading into 2016.”
Economic activity in the manufacturing sector contracted in November for the first time in 36 months, since November 2012, while the overall economy grew for the 78th consecutive month, say the nation’s supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®.
Earlier today the final rule for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s “Prohibiting Coercion of Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers,” which is more commonly known as the driver coercion rule, was published in the Federal Register.
The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI), which is based on the amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry, rose 0.2 percent in September from the revised August level, rising after remaining unchanged in the previous month, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS). The September 2015 index level (123.4) was 30.3 percent above the April 2009 low during the most recent recession.
Annual growth for import cargo volume at United States-based retail container ports appears to be in the cards with holiday shopping season underway, according to the Global Port Tracker report from the National Retail Federation (NRF) and maritime consultancy Hackett Associates.
Following the trend observed in the last four years, both total spend and the number of shipments for North American freight declined in October. The indexes have been below 2013 levels for the last several months. The first reading on third quarter GDP was a disappointing 1.5 percent annual growth rate, compared to 3.9 percent in the second quarter. Consumer sector goods are, by far, the strongest in the market now. In many ways this is the silver lining in the storm clouds, because it means that consumers are still in the game. Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two‐thirds of U.S. economic activity, grew 3.2 percent in the third quarter after expanding at a 3.6 percent pace in the second quarter.
The U.S. and its 11 negotiating partners – Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam – reached preliminary agreement on October 5, 2015, on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which would result in the world’s largest free-trade area, with a combined GDP of $27 trillion, equaling almost 40 percent of the global economy.