Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!



Time for a fresh economic start

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
January 03, 2011

Happy New Year from Newsroom Notes.

A new year means a fresh start or beginning. And based on what various newspaper articles and other reports are saying about the economy’s growth prospects for 2011, it stands to reason there is a healthy sense of optimism in the air, when it comes to assessing the economy as we prepare to dig into what is likely to be an eventful year.

A year ago at this time, it seemed like the general mindset regarding the economy and overall business conditions went along these lines: “well, things certainly cannot get worse than 2009.” They didn’t in 2010, but at the same time things were not exponentially better either. A gradual—or modest—improvement may be more apt when summing up the economy’s growth path in 2010.

So, what happens now? Since my crystal ball is still in the shop and my job description does not include the terms “economic prediction maker” I will instead have to come up with some other approach.

That approach is to look at the encouraging things we saw in 2010 of which there were a few: increasing freight volumes, signs of consumer confidence on the rise, higher equipment orders in the trucking sector, the ongoing intermodal rally (especially on the domestic side), promising import totals at U.S. ports, and others.

But while the positivity train is rolling on these fronts, there are still some black clouds up ahead that are impossible to ignore and will continue to play a role in determining the fortunes of the freight transportation and logistics sectors.

Such things include high unemployment, which is taking a toll on people throughout the country, as well as a sluggish (to put it kindly) housing market, and the high amount of capital reserves businesses have on the sidelines that they are reluctant to use to make investments with until they have a better long-term view into economic activity.

Oh, yeah, there is also the matter of rapidly increasing diesel and oil prices, which are typically viewed as signs of a solid or improving economy. Shippers can expect to take a bit of a hit on their fuel surcharges should prices continue to improve at current rates.

With no national elections on the docket this year, it would also be nice to see Congress make decisions that benefit their constituents, as opposed to the infighting that has dominated the headlines all too often. Am I overreaching on that? Stay tuned. But if Congress can continue the momentum that seemed to be happening during the Lame Duck session, then it just might be onto something heading into the 112th this week.

As I said before, my crystal ball is getting fixed. That said, 2011 will hopefully be a year that we will look back on and remember as the year “things started getting good” again.

About the Author

Jeff Berman headshot
Jeff Berman
Group News Editor

Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


Subscribe to Logistics Management magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your
entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

When it comes to Congress actually getting its act together on a new long-term federal transportation bill, things remain as status quo as it gets, with the big takeaway being nothing really ever gets done, when it comes to passing a badly overdue and needed bill, rather than these band-aid extensions Congress keeps signing off on.

Truckload and intermodal pricing was up on an annual basis, according to the December edition of the Truckload and Intermodal Cost Indexes from Cass Information Systems and Avondale Partners.

While the official numbers won’t be issued until early February in its quarterly Market Trends & Statistics report, preliminary data for the fourth quarter and full-year 2014 intermodal output from the Intermodal Association of North America (IANA) indicates that annual growth was intact.

Almost all companies today are aware of their labor or material costs... but what about energy consumption? It all comes down to having the energy data needed to determine what actions you must take to improve. The payoff is worth it, as insight into energy data allows you to make more valuable, relevant operating decisions.

With lower energy prices sparking domestic economic gains, coupled with solid manufacturing and industrial production activity, improving jobs numbers, and a GDP number that shows progress, there is, or there should be, much to be enthused about when it comes to the economy and the economic recovery, which has been raised and discussed and dissected from basically every angle possible, it seems. But that enthusiasm regarding the economy needs to be tempered, because big headline themes seldom tell the full story at all really.

Article Topics

Blogs · Trucking · Energy · Intermodal · Diesel · Oil · Congress · All topics

Comments

Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.


© Copyright 2013 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA