Transportation Industry Updates August 2017

Every month we report on the latest industry trends that help us plan for the future. Take a look at the latest trends.

U.S. Trucking

The American Trucking Associations’ seasonally adjusted Truck Tonnage Index increased 1.3% in June. The Truck Tonnage Index measures the total weight of freight transported by motor carriers for a given month. The index services has a way to measure shipping activity in the U.S., and can be used to help determine the state of the economy.

Dry van rates in the spot market through the end of July 2017 were $1.93 per mile, which is up 8.9% year over year. The higher rates compared to 2016 are likely driven by higher fuel surcharges.

Through late July, flatbed rates in the spot market were $2.25 per mile on a trailing four-week basis, which is up 18% year over year. The improvement is likely driven by improved industrial market conditions and higher fuel surcharges.

Global Containerized Ocean Traffic
During July, inbound containerized ocean volumes at all U.S. ports increased 6.8% year over year. Full year volumes to date are up 4.2% year over year.

Eastbound trans-Pacific ocean container spot rates between Hong Kong and the U.S. West Coast remained above 2016 levels through late July. The month of July 2017 was up 20% year over year and up 14.6% month over month.

The Containership Index stabilized in July after spiking in late April. This plateau was likely due to changes in the new alliance structure, which went into effect on April 1. This updated structure forced carriers to charter vessels to help fill gaps as their networks took shape.

CSX reported the third quarter rail volumes were down 0.2% year over year. Norfolk Southern reported carloads were up 1.8% during the same time period. The Eastern rail carriers saw improved coal, non-metallic minerals and intermodal volumes with CSX benefiting from better demand in chemicals as well.

Union Pacific reported the third quarter rail volumes were up 1.8% year over year. Volume trends continue to improve compared to prior year levels due to better coal, chemicals, sand and gravel levels.

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