Good news heading into the weekend. The price of oil is on yet another ride down as swelling global supplies overwhelm rising but still relatively weak demand.
The price of oil has fallen close to its lowest price in six years, and many expect it to fall much further in the coming weeks because supplies are still heading up and the summer driving season is still months away.
Department of Transportation
The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI), which is based on the amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry, fell 0.2 percent in January from December, declining for the second consecutive month, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ (BTS). The January 2015 index level (122.9) was 29.9 percent above the April 2009 low during the most recent recession. U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Public Affairs 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE Washington, DC 20590 http://www.dot.gov/briefingroom
American Journal of Transportation
Zepol reports that total U.S. container imports are down over 5 percent this year, compared to January and February of 2014. Nearly the entire decline in imports was attributed to West Coast ports. The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which make up a combined 40 percent of U.S. container imports, declined by 19 and 20 percent so far in 2015. East Coast ports have reaped the benefit, especially the port of New York/Newark, which increased container imports by 8 percent this year.
Cass Information Systems
North American shipment volume jumped up in February, while total freight expenditures reversed a three- month slump. The problems caused by labor negotiations on the West Coast have contributed to an economic slowdown for most of the first quarter. The two sides in the ILWU contract negotiations have come to terms, but not yet ratified them, which will open the floodgates to moving the backlogged freight. The Port of L.A. estimates that it will take three months to return to normal. Meanwhile congestion and capacity will be the industry’s buzzwords.
Supply Chain 247
The Houston Ship Channel is still closed following a collision yesterday between two ships.
The ship channel is expected to remain closed until the U.S. Coast Guard has the situation under control. Officials at Morgan’s Point was lifted overnight.
Some economic indicators have not bounced back as well as others in the recovery from the Great Recession, but trucking is doing well, and a capacity crunch leads economic expert John Larkin to project truckload rates to rise 3 to 5% this year overall.
Larkin, managing director and transportation expert for investment firm Stifel, Nicolaus, offered an economic outlook Tuesday morning during the Truckload Carriers Association annual meeting in Kissimmee, Fla.
National Retail Federation
Import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to rise an unusually high 16.9 percent this month over the same time last year as West Coast ports begin to dig out from a backlog of cargo that built up during just-concluded contract negotiations with dockworkers, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.
American Journal of Transportation
Efforts to eliminate a cargo backlog at the Port of Oakland are meeting with success. The Port said today gains in container movement are visible from ship to shore. The signs include:
February saw freight volume drop 37% year-over-year and spot market freight availability decline for the second consecutive month — yet rates were up year over year, according to the latest DAT North American Freight Index.
Bureau of Labor Statistics
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 295,000 in February, and the unemployment rate edged down to 5.5 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
reported today. Job gains occurred in food services and drinking places, professional and business services, construction, health care, and in transportation and warehousing. Employment in mining was down over the month.