Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Earlier this week, the United States Supreme Court upheld a ruling in which it ordered $345 million in reparations and reductions from Class I railroad Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) to two shippers, Western Fuels Association Inc. and Basin Electric Cooperative Inc.
Diesel prices decreased for just the fourth time in the last 24 weeks—and the second consecutive week—with a 4.3 cent decline to $4.061 per gallon, according to the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA). This follows a 2 cent dip last week, which dropped the average price per gallon to $4.104.
First quarter intermodal loadings—3,292,291—were up 9.0 percent annually, as were the four major intermodal equipment categories tracked by IANA.
Freight movement needs a coordinated national freight strategic plan and dedicated source of funds in the next surface transportation bill, and major industry players need to be aggressive in selling that message to legislators obsessed with cutting federal transportation spending. That’s the word from the annual conference of Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors, a ten-year-old Washington coalition of freight interests that includes shippers, builders, ports, intermodal interests, and other stakeholders.
During its first quarter earnings call, YRC stated the terms of its latest debt swap plan, and has engaged Morgan Stanley to arrange a new $400 million asset-based loan facility that CEO Bill Zollars says will “enhance our liquidity and strengthen our balance sheet.”
Monday, May 16, 2011
Despite data points that indicate the economy is firming, it may not always feel that way for shippers, especially these days. That was especially true with the recent release of the Shippers’ Condition Index (SCI) from FTR Associates.
The most recent edition of the Port Tracker report by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates is calling for import cargo volume at major United States-based container ports to closely resemble last year, with a leveling off in May volumes.
With gas prices making everyone uncomfortable, again, those same old fears about energy prices are back in the forefront. But it does not have to be these way. In fact, it should not be this way—period. That is how T. Boone Pickens, founder and chairman of BP Capital Management, sees it.
Friday, May 13, 2011
April retail sales, which include non-general merchandise like automobiles, gasoline, and restaurants, were $389.4 billion for a 0.5 percent increase from March and a 7.6 percent increase compared to April 2010, according to Commerce data. Commerce said that total retail sales from February through April were up 8.1 percent annually.
On the heels on a 2.7 percent gain in March, following a cumulative 2.8 percent decline in January and February, the April edition of the Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index (PCI) was down 0.5 percent. The PCI has been down on a sequential basis in six of the last nine months, but it was up 3.5 percent compared to April 2010 and has been up annually for 17 consecutive months.