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.
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.
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.
As a reminder, the National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) changed its guidelines regarding concealed damage claims. It reduced the amount of time in which LTL carriers should be notified of concealed damage from 15 days to 5.
This change went into effect on April 18, 2015. The result is that both LTL shippers and receivers now have only five (5) business days to provide verbal and written notification of any LTL concealed damages to the respective carrier, without additional substantiative burdens.
“The U.S. LEI fell slightly in January, driven primarily by large declines in stock prices and further weakness in initial claims for unemployment insurance,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, Director of Business Cycles and Growth Research at The Conference Board. “Despite back-to-back monthly declines, the index doesn’t signal a significant increase in the risk of recession, and its six-month growth rate remains consistent with a modest economic expansion through early 2016.”
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 242,000 in February, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.9 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment gains occurred in health care and social assistance, retail trade, food services and drinking places, and private educational services. Job losses continued in mining.
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) amended the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention in November, 2014 to require shippers to verify container weights. These amendments were brought about by accidents resulting from overweight containers – both on the road and at sea – as well as studies showing that an unacceptably large percentage of significantly overweight containers are tendered to carriers. SOLAS is globally binding; all Countries that are party to the convention have undertaken to implement amendments.