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.
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.
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has adopted a new requirement under the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Chapter VI, Part A, Regulation 2. The new container weight verfication rule will go into effect on July 1, 2016, and will impact shippers from 171 countries due to the added requirements of necessary documentation.
This amendment to SOLAS states that the shipper is responsible for providing the container’s gross verified weight to the ocean carrier and port terminal representative prior to the container being loaded on a ship; regardless of who packed the container.
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.