Transportation Indexes Trended Up in September

Oct. 16, 2013
The Purchasing Managers Index rose to its highest level since April 2011.

The federal government shutdown cut off many industry data sources, along with private industry information that relies on them, but here are the available industry numbers according to the latest Logistics Market Snapshot, courtesy of the Georgia Center of Innovation:

Transportation Indexes:

• Dow Jones Transportation index rose 0.4 during the month of September. (Stock performance of twenty large, well-known U.S. companies in the transportation industry, average of September 10th thru October 10th)

• NASDAQ Transportation Index decreased 0.9% in September. (Averaged share weights of NASDAQ-listed companies classified as transportation companies, average of September 10th thru October 10th)

• The USDOT's freight transportation services index rose 0.4% in August 2013. The index’s reading of 114.8 was up 3.4% from August 2012. (Source: US DOT)

• The September shipments index rose 2.7% over the previous month and rose 0.1% year-over-year. The September expenditures index rose 5.2% for the month, and increased 5.2% year-over-year. (Source: Cass Information Systems | (Based upon transportation dollars and shipments of Cass clients comprised of over 400 shipping companies)


• Railroad bulk carload freight in September 2013 fell 0.8 from August 2013. Freight traffic in September rose 0.7% from September 2012. Carloads excluding coal and grain increased 4.9% over the previous year. (Source: (Report includes rail car-loadings by 19 different major commodity categories as well as intermodal units)

• Intermodal rail traffic in September 2013 was 4.4% higher than in September 2012, and remained flat from August 2013. Intermodal loadings have experienced year-over-year gains for 45 straight months. (Source: (Report includes rail car-loadings by 19 different major commodity categories as well as intermodal units)


• The ATA’s seasonally adjusted cargo index rose 1.4% in August after falling 0.6% in July. The for-hire truck tonnage index rose 6.9% from August 2012, the largest year-over-year gain since December 2011. (Source: American Trucking Association |

• The spot market for truckload freight in September fell 3.1% compared to the previous month, and was 30% higher year-over-year. Truck capacity fell 6% for the month, and was up 11% year-over-year. (Source: DAT Trendlines |


• Global air freight traffic in August increased 3.6% from one year ago, and rose 0.8% from the previous month. North American air freight in August rose 0.7% year-over-year. (Source: (Global air freight covers international and domestic scheduled air traffic.)

• In August, the index of East-West air cargo rates rose 2.7% from the previous month. The average price of air cargo leaving the United States in August stood at $3.15 per kilogram. (Source: Drewry) (The Drewry East-West Air Freight Price Index is based on the average of rates ($US per kg) for air freight services on 21 major East-West routes.)


• The U.S. average industrial vacancy rate was 8.63% during Q2 2013, down from 8.83% in the previous quarter. (Source: Colliers International)

• In Q2 2013, warehouse and distribution rental rates in the US averaged $4.81 per square foot, up from $4.77/SF in the previous quarter. (Source: Colliers International)

Purchasing Managers Index:

• The National PMI rose 0.5 of a point to 56.2 in September 2013, the highest level since April 2011. New orders fell 2.7 points to 60.5 and production increased 0.2 point to 62.6. (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.)