Transportation Numbers Lead Positive Summer Logistics Report

Aug. 16, 2013
Automotive sector sees good sales and plans to enhance numbers with logistics efficiency.

Transportation businesses raised the bar of economic performance in June, with new automobile sales surging to 16 million annualized units—the strongest monthly activity since 2007, according to the latest Logistics Market Snapshot, courtesy of the Georgia Center of Innovation.The auto companies said overall sales in the United States grew 14% during July to 1.3 million vehicles.  In July GM, Ford, and Chrysler experienced increases of 16%, 11%, and 11% year-over-year, respectively.  (Source: Autodata Corporation).

Car makers are focusing their efforts on logistics efficiency.  For example, General Motors announced its intention to reduce material and logistics costs in North America by $1 billion by 2016. The company is planning to reduce costs by bringing suppliers closer to assembly plants, extending rail lines directly to its facilities.     

On the trucking side of transportation, the industry gained 6,300 jobs in July after posting a loss of 3,500 in June. The trucking workforce increased 0.45% over the previous month and increased 2.3% over the previous year.  (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Overall, the unemployment rate in America decreased to 7.4% in July 2013 as there were 162,000 net new jobs.  July's unemployment rate was the lowest since December 2008. (Source: US DOL)

Here’s a sector-by-sector logistics performance report:

Transportation Indexes:

• Dow Jones Transportation index rose 1.3% during the month of August. (Stock performance of twenty large, well-known U.S. companies in the transportation industry, average of July 10th thru August 10th)

• NASDAQ Transportation Index increased 0.1% in August. (Averaged share weights of NASDAQ-listed companies classified as transportation companies, average of July 10th thru August 10th)

• The US DOT's freight transportation services index fell 0.2% in June 2013. The index’s reading of 113.8 was up 1.8% from June 2012. (Source: US DOT)

• The July shipments index fell 2.3% over the previous month and fell 3.1% year-over-year. The July expenditures index rose 0.9% for the month, and increased 3.8% year-over-year. (Source: Cass Information Systems | (Based upon transportation dollars and shipments of Cass clients comprised of over 400 shipping companies)

Imports and Exports:

• In June, the U.S. imported about $225.4 billion of cargo. June U.S. imports fell 2.5% in terms of value from May, and fell 1% year-over-year. (Source: US Census)

• In June, the U.S. exported more than $191.2 billion of cargo, the highest on record. June U.S. exports have increased 2.2% in terms of value over the previous month and rose 3.2% year-over-year. (Source: US Census)

• U.S. import prices rose 0.2% in July. Import prices rose 1% over the past year. The price index for U.S. exports fell 0.1% in July. Export prices increased 0.4% year-over-year. (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)


• Railroad bulk carload freight in July 2013 rose 0.4% from June 2013. Freight traffic in July fell 0.5% from July 2012. Carloads excluding coal and grain increased 3.5% over the previous year. (Source: includes rail car-loadings by 19 different major commodity categories as well as intermodal units)

• Intermodal rail traffic in July 2013 was 2.5% higher than in July 2012 and 0.5% lower than June 2013 totals. Intermodal loadings have experienced year-over-year gains for 44 straight months. (Source: includes rail car-loadings by 19 different major commodity categories as well as intermodal units)


• The ATA’s seasonally adjusted cargo index rose 0.1% in June after rising 2.1% in May. The for-hire truck tonnage index rose 5.9% year-over-year. (Source: American Trucking Association |

• The spot market for truckload freight in July rose 3% compared to the previous month, and was 20% higher year-over-year. Truck capacity rose 11% for the month, and was up 14% year-over-year. (Source: DAT Trendlines |


• Global air freight traffic in June increased 1.2% from one year ago, and rose 0.8% from the previous month. North American air freight in June fell 1.2% year-over-year. (Source: (Global air freight covers international and domestic scheduled air traffic. North American traffic includes only domestic freight traffic.)

• In June, the index of East-West air cargo rates fell 2.7 points from the previous month. The average price of air cargo leaving the United States in June stood at $3.06 per kilogram. (Source: Drewry) (The Drewry East-West Air Freight Price Index is based on the average of rates ($US per kg) for air freight services on 21 major East-West routes.)


• Import shipment volume at U.S. ports totaled 1.69 million TEUs in July, the highest monthly volume since July 2007. U.S. vessel imports increased 13% in July from the previous month and rose 2% year-over-year. (Source: Zepol Corporation |


• The U.S. average industrial vacancy rate was 8.5% during Q2 2013, down from 8.6% in the previous quarter. In Q2 2013, warehouse and distribution rental rates in the US averaged $5.05 per square foot. (Source: Cassidy Turley)

Purchasing Managers Index:

• The National PMI rose 4.5 points to 55.4 in July 2013. New orders rose 6.4 points to 58.3 and production increased 11.6 points to 65.0. (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.)

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