The most recent logistics numbers (from the Logistics Market Snapshot, courtesy of the Georgia Center of Innovation) show a few bright spots to kick off 2013.
• Container volume on U.S. railroads represented 87% of total intermodal volume, up from 69% in 2000, and every Class 1 U.S. railroad recorded increases in intermodal for the year.
• At the end of 2012, about 32 million square feet (MSF)of warehouse construction was in progress nationwide. In Georgia alone, 3.4 million square feet of new construction is underway—nearly twice as much as the 1.8 million square feet being constructed in Tennessee, which is #2 in the country.
• The U.S. GDP increased 3.1% in the third quarter of 2012 according to the final estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
• In November, building permits rose 3.6% (an indicator of future housing starts) to an annual rate of 899,000.
Here are the other market highlights:
• Dow Jones Transportation index rose 7.5% during the month of December. (Stock performance of twenty large, well-known U.S. companies in the transportation industry, average of December 10th thru January 10th);
• NASDAQ Transportation Index increased 9.3% in December. (Averaged share weights of NASDAQ-listed companies classified as transportation companies, average of December 10th thru January 10th);
• The USDOT's freight transportation services rose 1.7% in November 2012. The index’s reading of 108.9 matched the reading from November 2011. (Source: US DOT);
• The December shipments index fell 2% over the previous month and rose 1.4% year-over-year. The December expenditures index increased 0.9% for the month, and increased 4.0 % year over year. (Source: Cass Information Systems | Cassinfo.com) (Based upon transportation dollars and shipments of Cass clients comprised of over 400 shipping companies).
Imports and Exports:
• In November, the U.S. imported about $231.3 billion of cargo. November U.S. imports have increased 3.8% in terms of value from October, and rose 2.5% year-over-year. (Source: US Census);
• In November, the U.S. exported more than $182.6 billion of cargo. November U.S. exports have increased 1.0% in terms of value over the previous month and grew 3.3% year-over-year. (Source: US Census);
• U.S. import prices fell 0.1% in December. Import prices fell 1.5% over the past year. The price index for U.S. exports also fell 0.1% in December. Export prices increased 1.1% year-over-year. (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics);
• The unemployment rate in America remained unchanged at 7.8% in December 2012 as there were 155,000 net new jobs, down from the revised 161,000 new jobs created in November. (Source: US DOL);
• The trucking industry added 4,200 jobs in December. The trucking workforce increased 0.3% over the previous month and rose 3.37% over the previous year. (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
• Railroad bulk carload freight in December 2012 rose 2.3% from November 2012. Freight traffic in December fell 4.2% from December 2011. Carloads excluding coal and grain increased 6.0% over the previous year. (Source: AAR.org) (Report includes rail car-loadings by 19 different major commodity categories as well as intermodal units);
• Intermodal rail traffic in December 2012 was 1.7% higher than in December 2011 and 1.0% higher than November 2012 totals. Intermodal loadings have experienced year-over-year gains for 37 straight months. (Source: AAR.org) (Report includes rail car-loadings by 19 different major commodity categories as well as intermodal units).
• The ATA’s seasonally adjusted cargo index rose 3.7% in November after falling 3.7% in October. The for-hire truck tonnage index rose 1% year-over-year. (Source: American Trucking Association | Trucking.org);
• The spot market for truckload freight in December fell 18% compared to the previous month, and was 1.8% higher year-over-year. Truck capacity fell 10% for the month, and was up 9% year-over-year. (Source: TransCore Freight Index | www.transcorefreightsolutions.com)
• Global air freight traffic in November increased 1.6% from one year ago and rose 2.4% from the previous month. North American air freight in November rose 2% year-over-year. (Source: IATA.org) (Global air freight covers international and domestic scheduled air traffic. North American traffic includes only domestic freight traffic.);
• In October, the average international air cargo rate was $3.99 per kilogram, rising 11.9% from the previous month. Average air freight rates were down 13.4% year-over-year. (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics) (The Drewry Air Freight Price Index is based on the average of rates ($US per kg) for cargoes of 100+kg to 1,000+kg cargoes from Shanghai to London, Moscow, Prague, New York, and Los Angeles.)
• Import shipment volume, in TEUs, at U.S. ports increased 1.2% in 2012 year-over-year. Over 17.6 million TEUs were imported last year. Maersk Line was the top carrier for 2012 and increased its TEU imports by 7.9% in 2012. (Source: Zepol Corporation | zepol.com)
• The U.S. average industrial vacancy rate was 9.21% during Q3 2012, down from 9.37% in the previous quarter. Overall vacancy was 12.7% in Atlanta and 12.16% in Savannah during the third quarter. (Source: Colliers International)
• Total value of inventory on hand is estimated at $1.62 Trillion in November 2012, up 0.3% from October and up 5.5% from November 2011. (Source: US Census)
Purchasing Managers Index:
• The National PMI rose 1.2 points to 50.7 in December 2012. New orders remained the same at 50.3 and production fell 1.1 points to 52.6. (Source: Institute for Supply Management) (The PMI combines data on new orders, inventory, production, supplier deliveries, and employment. A reading above 50 indicates that the manufacturing economy is generally expanding.)