A Quick Glance Into The Logistics Market - April 2015

Georgia Logistics compiles a monthly set of facts and figures regarding the Logistics Markets. We selected a few facts to share with you.


Gross Domestic Product: The U.S. GDP increased 2.2% in the fourth quarter of 2014 according to the third estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis on March 27.

U.S. Trade Deficit: The U.S. trade deficit decreased by 17.09% in February to $35.4 billion. Exports fell 1.6% to $186.2 billion and imports fell 4.1% to $221.7 billion. 

Consumer Confidence: The Consumer Confidence Index increased to 101.3 in March 2015, up 2.5 from the previous month. The three-month average of 101.3 is the highest since September 2007. (The consumer confidence index is based on a monthly survey of 5,000 U.S. household. It is designed to gauge the financial health, spending power, and confidence of the average U.S. consumer.)

Unemployment Rate: The unemployment rate in America remained at 5.5% in March 2015 as there were 126,000 net new jobs. The industries leading job creation in March 2015 were retail trade, health care, temporaries, and transportation and warehousing. 

Leading Economic Index: The Leading Economic Index for the U.S. increased 0.2% in February to 121.4 (2004=100), following a 0.2% increase January 2015, and a 0.4% increase in December 2014. (The LEI is a composite of 10 economic indicators that together create an analytic system designed to signal peaks and troughs in the business cycle. The LEI reveals patterns in economic data in a clearer and more convincing manner than any individual component alone.)

Retail Sales: Retail and food service sales rose in March to $441.4 billion, up 0.9% from the previous month, and up 1.3% above March 2014. Non-store retailer sales were up 8.6% from February 2014.

Manufacturing & Trade Sales: Total combined sales and manufacturing shipments totaled nearly $1.30 Trillion in January 2015, down 2.0% from December 2014 and down 0.3% from the previous year. 

Manufacturing & Trade Inventory: Total value of inventory on hand is estimated at $1,790.2 billion in February, up 0.3% from January 2015, and up 3.3% from February 2014. 

Housing Starts: In February 2015, housing starts decreased 16.9% to an annual rate of 897,000 units. Starts for single-family homes were an annualized 593,000 in February 2015, down from 697,000 in January 2015. The index of pending home sales (sales that haven’t closed yet but contracts have been signed) was 106.9 in February 2015, up 12.05% from one year ago.

Consumer & Producer Price Index: The consumer price index for all urban consumers increased 0.2% in February on a seasonally adjusted basis from the previous month. Over the last 12 months, the all items index was unchanged. The producer price index for final demand increased 0.2% in March from the previous month. Prices for finished goods rose 0.3% from the previous month.



Dow Jones Transportation Index: Dow Jones Transportation index fell 2.1% during the month of March. (Stock performance of twenty large, well-known U.S. companies in the transportation industry, average of March 10th thru April 10th)

NASDAQ Transportation Index: NASDAQ Transportation Index fell 1.7% in March. (Averaged share weights of NASDAQ-listed companies classified as transportation companies, average of March 10th thru April 10th)

DOT Freight Transportation Index: The USDOT's freight transportation services index fell 1.7% in February 2015. The index’s reading of 120.4 was 2.5% higher than February 2014.

Import Volumes: In February, the U.S. imported $180.8 billion of cargo, falling 5.4% from January 2015. (Source: US Census)

Export Volumes: In February, the U.S. exported $125.6 billion of cargo, falling 2.3% from January 2015. (

E-Commerce: E-Commerce revenue in March 2015 is estimated to be up 10% year-over-year, with e-commerce orders up 11% over the same period. Mobile orders (phone & tablet) accounted for 26% of all e-commerce orders in March, up from 20% during the same month last year. 

Multimodal News Clips:


  • Light vehicle sales were an annualized 17.1 million in March 2015, their third-highest level since 2006. Auto sales in March 2015 were 3.8% higher than in March 2014. 

  • Employment in the Transportation and Warehousing industry increased by 9.5% in March 2015. Yearover-year, the industry saw a 3.5% increase. 



U.S. Freight Rail Traffic: Total carloads in March 2015 decreased 3.4% from March 2014. Total carloads averaged 279,257 in March 2015, the second fewest for March since at least 1988; only March 2009 was lower.  (Report includes rail car-loadings by 19 different major commodity categories as well as intermodal units)

U.S. Intermodal Rail Traffic: Intermodal rail traffic in March 2015 was 5.7% higher, year-over-year. March 2015 had the second highest weekly average for intermodal in history (behind October 2014). Combined carloads and intermodal was the highest for a March since 2007.  (Report includes rail car-loadings by 19 different major commodity categories as well as intermodal units)

Railroad Fuel Price Index: The index of average railroad fuel prices in February 2015 was 376.7, up 13.3% from the previous month and38.3% lower year-over-year.  (Average monthly price for gallons purchased by freight railroads; Includes federal excise taxes, transportation, and handling expenses)

Short Line Rail Traffic: In March 2015, short line railroad shipments across North America fell 3.8% compared to the same month last year. A sampling of about 431 small railroads in the U.S. and Canada loaded 553,682 railcars and intermodal units during the month of March. 

Railroad News Clips: Total U.S. carload traffic for the first quarter of 2015 were 3,367,082 carloads, up 0.3% over the first quarter of 2014, with grain, crushed stone, sand, and gravel, and metallic ores increasing their carloads. 



Trucking Volume: The ATA’s seasonally adjusted cargo index decreased 3.1% in February. The index equaled 131.6, the lowest level since September 2014. The for-hire truck tonnage index rose 3% from February 2014, although this was the smallest year-over-year gain since June 2014. 

Truckload Freight: The spot market for truckload freight in March increased 40% compared to the previous month, and was 16% lower year-over-year. Truck capacity rose 11% for the month, and increased 61% year-over-year.

Diesel Prices: U.S. average diesel prices fell to $2.78 per gallon last week. The U.S. average diesel price was $1.17 lower than the same week last year. The average price of diesel in the lower Atlantic states was $2.78 per gallon. (Reflects the costs and profits of the entire production and distribution chain.)

Trucking Employment: The trucking industry workforce decreased by 7,000 employees in March. The trucking workforce increased 2.7% over the previous year. 

Trucking News Clips:

  • Georgia Legislature passed a $1 billion transportation funding plan the first week of April. The bill is expected to raise about $945 million a year for transportation through an increased gas tax and various transportation fees. 

  • The combined revenue of the 50 largest U.S. trucking companies shot up 10% last year, nearly double the 2013 growth rate. The carriers benefited from increased shipping demand from customers and higher rates as truck capacity tightened. 



Air Cargo Traffic: Global air freight traffic in February increased 11.7% from one year ago, and increased 2.2% from the previous month. (Global air freight covers international and domestic scheduled air traffic.)

Jet Fuel Prices: As of March 20, 2015, the global average jet fuel price was $68.4 per barrel; down 10.4% from the previous month, and 42.8% lower year-over-year. (The weekly index and price data shows the global average price paid at the refinery for aviation jet fuel)

Air Freight News Clips: Worldwide sales of semiconductors reached $27.8 billion for the month of February 2015, an increase of 6.7% from February 2014, and the 22nd straight month of year-to-year growth. Global sales from February 2015 were 2.7% lower than the February 2014 total, reflecting normal seasonal trends. 



Import Volumes: Import volume through major U.S. container ports is expected to rise 8% in April over the same time last year as West Coast ports continue to recover from a backlog of cargo that built up before a tentative new labor agreement was signed. In February, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available, U.S. container ports handled 1.2 million TEUs, a 10.3% decrease from the previous month and a 3.6% decrease from the same month last year.

Ocean Freight Business News:

  • The Georgia Ports Authority approved $10 million for Phase II of construction for a new Gate 8 and empty container depot at Garden City Terminal at the Port of Savannah. The project, totaling $27 million, will help the terminal to handle higher than expected container volume growth. 

  • The Georgia Ports Authority increased containerized cargo in March by 27.8% compared to March 2014. For the first time ever, the Port of Savannah moved 333,058 TEUs in a single month.



Industrial Vacancy: The U.S. average industrial vacancy rate fell for the 19th consecutive quarter to 7.2% in Q4 of 2014. This is the lowest level in nearly 14 years. Overall vacancy was 9.7% in Atlanta and 9.2% in the South during the fourth quarter of 2014. Overall vacancy in the Savannah industrial market continues to decline. The vacancy rate dropped to 5.46% in Q4 of 2014 as compared to 5.71% in Q3 and fell 9.03% year-over-year. (Colliers International)

Warehouse Rent Rates: In Q4 2014, warehouse and distribution rental rates in the US averaged $5.64 per square foot, up from $5.66 per square foot in the previous quarter. Rental rates for warehouse space averaged $4.10 per square foot in Atlanta.

Industrial Absorption: Net absorption in the US during Q1 2015 totaled more than 10.6 million square feet, down 5% from the same quarter one year ago. Despite the deceleration, net absorption has been positive now for 20 consecutive quarters. (Absorption is the net change in occupied space between two points in time. Positive absorption means that previously unoccupied space is being occupied.)

W&D Business News:

  • Hi-Rez Studios, the Georgia-based developer of online games, will expand, creating 50 jobs at its headquarters in Atlanta. Hi-Rez is leasing an additional 22,000 square feet in Alpharetta to expand its current headquarters. 
  • Wells Lighting, a Korea-based light manufacturer, will locate its first North American headquarters in Millen, Georgia. This will create more than 200 jobs and invest $30 million into the project over the next two years. The company will locate to an existing 92,000 square foot building, which will house the company’s headquarter operations, R&D initiatives, and manufacturing operations for its new LED lighting production line.


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