The Latest Transportation Industry Updates

Each month we report the latest industry trends to help us plan for the future. Take a look at the latest transportation industry trends:

U.S. Trucking

The American Trucking Associations’ truck tonnage index was down 1.8% year over year in April 2017. The truck tonnage index measures the gross tonnage of freight transported by motor carriers for a given month. The index serves as an indicator of shipping activity in the U.S., and can be used to help determine the state of the economy. Year-to-date tonnage is down 0.3% versus the 2.5% growth in 2016.

Dry van rates in the spot market through the end of May 2017 were $1.87 per mile based on a four-week rolling average. This rate is up 13.2% year over year. The higher rates compared to 2016 are likely driven by higher fuel surcharges.

Through late May 2017, flatbed rates in the spot market were $2.12 per mile based on a trailing four-week basis. This rate is up 11% year over year. The rate increase is likely driven by improved industrial market conditions and higher fuel surcharges.

Global Containerized Ocean Traffic

Inbound containerized ocean volumes at all U.S. ports grew 9% year over year in May 2017. The full year volumes are up 5%. The increase in May is likely due to the continued strengthening U.S. dollar.

The containership index continued to trend downward throughout May 2017 after showing increases in the first quarter.


CSX reported the second quarter rail volumes were up 0.3% year over year. Norfolk Southern reported carloads up 6.9% during the same time period. CSX saw improved volumes while Norfolk Southern benefited from higher demand and intermodal market share gains.

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