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U.S. Bank Freight Payment Index shows declines.

MINNEAPOLIS: The U.S. Bank Freight Payment Index showed declines in the third quarter compared with the second quarter in 2018.

It is a tool designed to assess the current state of the freight industry in the U.S. The changes between quarters were driven by several factors according to Bob Costello, a freight industry analyst and chief economist for American Trucking Associations, including a moderating U.S. economy compared with the previous quarter and other factors like Hurricane Florence and potential early signs of tariff impacts. On a year-over-year basis, however, the overall freight spend increased by double-digits despite lower freight shipment volumes, which reflects higher average freight transaction prices.

Costello said, "Linked quarter declines in both freight shipment volume and spend are in line with the deceleration many expected in third quarter gross domestic product growth. As trucking often leads the broader economy, the decreases seen in the U.S. Bank Freight Payment Index suggest economic growth may have peaked and may decelerate in the fourth quarter and beyond. Despite the sequential decreases in freight shipments and spending last quarter, the national truck market remains solid and capacity tight."

Costello also said it is difficult to ascertain the exact impact that Hurricane Florence had in the Southeast region during the third quarter, but undoubtedly it was negative. However, there will eventually be a freight bump associated with hurricane rebuilding efforts. Costello also noted, while still very early in implementation, U.S. tariffs on some foreign products - as well as retaliatory tariffs on some U.S. goods - likely had at least a slight negative impact on the quarter.

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Publication:Daily the Pak Banker (Lahore, Pakistan)
Date:Oct 27, 2018
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