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US trucking suffers most in the US transport virus downturn

US TRUCKING shipments were down 23 per cent year on year in April, according to Cass, with a 16 per cent drop month over month, according to the Cleveland Research Company's monthly trend analysis

21 May 2020 - 19:00

US TRUCKING shipments were down 23 per cent year on year in April, according to Cass, with a 16 per cent drop month over month, according to the Cleveland Research Company's monthly trend analysis.

This reflects pre-COVID and COVID pull-forward, seasonally adjusted tonnage in March rose 6.2 per cent year on year, said the American Trucking Associations (ATA).



The three-month moving average was up 3.1 per cent year on year in March, up 0.9 per cent month over month. Expectations for 2Q and remainder of 2020 appear cautious given demand and capacity implications due to COVID-19, said the report



Overall truckload rates (contract and spot) were down seven per cent year on year in April (excluding fuel surcharges and assessorial fees), according to Cass Information Systems as capacity exceeds demand, but relatively flat month over month.



Total US and Canadian container imports were down three per cent year on year in April, according to PIERS, with imports growing one per cent for the year, lower than 2018's eight per cent growth rate (2017 was +4 per cent).



'May/June volumes will likely continue to see a negative impact from COVID-19 as blank sailings continue to be implemented amid cautious, limited forward visibility,' said the Cleveland report.



During the past 45 days, spot market rates from Asia to the US west coast rose from US$1,500 to $1,750 due to capacity reduction and backlogged February orders. All-in rates are now 20 per cent above year ago levels (flat through April), according to the Shanghai Containerised Freight Index.



Rail volumes at CSX are down 22 per cent while Norfolk Southern volumes are down 30 per cent year on year. Primary categories lower year on year at CSX are coal, automotive, and intermodal. NSC's volumes declined due to less intermodal, coal, auto, and chemical volumes.


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