After a cold start to 2014, the year ended on an impressive note with stronger job creation, gains in economic activity, rising retail sales and a more confident consumer. Adding it up, the economy appears to be on solid ground, showing signs of forward momentum.
Import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to rise 10.1 percent this month over the same time last year even as West Coast ports come closer to a possible shutdown due to the lack of a contract with dockworkers, 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, was virtually unchanged in December from November, failing to rise after five consecutive months of increases, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ (BTS). The December 2014 index level (123.8) was 30.9 percent above the April 2009 low during the most recent recession.
OVERLAND PARK, Kan., February 11, 2015 – MIQ Logistics is pleased to announce that Charles Suggett has joined its Sales team as Business Development manager for the Los Angeles area. Located in Gardena, Calif., Suggett has responsibility for strategic account development and new business efforts.
North American shipment volumes and total spending on freight both dropped in January, following the pattern we have come to expect in the almost six years since the end of the Great Recession. Overall, the economy was much stronger in 2014, although the strong GDP growth of the second and third quarters was capped with more modest growth in the fourth quarter. The continuing labor and capacity woes at West Coast ports had an impact on shipment volume late in December, which is reflected in the January 2015 indexes.
This afternoon the PMA (Pacific Maritime Association) announced that weekend operations of vessel loading and unloading will be temporarily suspended. The PMA indicated that yard, rail and gate operations would continue at terminal operators’ discretion.
The National Retail Federation issued the following statement today from Vice President for Supply Chain Jonathan Gold on the news of a temporary suspension of port terminal operations at the West Coast containerized ports:“Temporarily suspending port operations is just another example of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and Pacific Maritime Association shooting themselves in the collective bargaining foot. The continuing slowdowns and increasing congestion at West Coast ports are bringing the fears of a port shutdown closer to a reality.
Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 257,000 in January, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 5.7 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job gains occurred in retail trade, construction, health care, financial activities, and manufacturing.
On Wednesday afternoon the PMA (Pacific Maritime Association) announced that an “All-In” offer had been submitted to ILWU (International Longshore Warehouse Union) in an effort to bring closure to eight months of ongoing contract negotiations. Details pertaining to compensation and health care offer were disclosed within the PMA press release.
Union-led work slowdowns could halt the 29 U.S. West Coast ports, including the Port of Portland, in five to 10 days, the head of the shippers’ association said, urging the union to accept a new offer that includes 3 percent raises.