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United States Freight Transport Report Q3
- Product Code:BMI06456
- Publication Date:July 2011
- Publisher:Business Monitor
- Product Type: Report
United States Freight Transport Report Q3 2011
BMI's outlook for the US freight transport sector in 2011 is cautiously optimistic. We expect volumes at major ports, and on road, rail and air links to continue recovering from the downturn as the consumer outlook brightens slightly. Our basic view is that despite the current challenges to the global economic outlook, the US recovery will continue, but will remain at a very sub-par pace compared with previous recoveries. The key risk over the coming quarters is the potential for an oil price spike amid unrest in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) pushing up domestic energy prices and stifling the consumer recovery, a scenario which does not bode well for the freight transport sector. We have downgraded our 2011 US real GDP growth forecast to 2.9% from 3.1% previously. This is due mainly to base effects from a disappointing Q111, in which real GDP looks set to have grown by less than 2.5%, versus the 3.5% that we had pencilled in. Our initial optimism surrounding the payroll tax cuts agreed in December 2010 ended up being offset by bad weather and the twin shocks of the Japanese earthquake and the rise in oil prices surrounding the MENA crisis. We believe that momentum will pick up, however, with improvement across most sectors of the economy. This should translate in an uptick in freighted volumes.
Headline Industry Data
- 2011 port of Los Angeles tonnage throughput forecast to growth by 5.1%, with annual average growth of 5.1% during our forecast period, to 2015.
- 2011 port of New York/New Jersey tonnage throughput forecast to grow by 0.6%, with annual average growth of 0.9% during our forecast period.
- 2011 air freight tonnes/km growth forecast at 7%, with annual average growth of 6% during our forecast period.
- 2011 rail freight tonnes/km growth forecast at 4%, with annual average growth of 3% during our forecast period.
- 2011 road freight tonnes/km growth forecast at 4%, with annual average growth of 3% during our forecast period
Key Industry Trends
Shippers Increase East Coast Imports, Trans-Pacific Conference Highlights Panama Effects
The March 2011 Trans-Pacific Maritime Conference has highlighted the fact that, nearly 100 years since it was opened, the Panama Canal set to shake up the US port sector once more, potentially reshaping shipping and rail in the world's largest consumer state. Some major US importers are diversifying their US port gateways, increasing use of East Coast ports, in preparation for the completion of the Panama Canal expansion in 2014.
CSX Braces For Panama Expansion Surge With US$160mn Rail Investment
BMI believes the steady recovery in US rail freight volumes will continue in 2011. Our outlook is reflected in the considerable investments being made by the major US rail freight players to improve infrastructure and boost capacity.
CSX has announced that it is to invest US$160mn over the next few years to improve its ability to move freight from the port of Virginia to the US Midwest, a project that BMI believes will leave it well placed to take advantage of growing volumes when the expansion of the Panama Canal is completed in 2014. The improvements will complete the company's US$860mn 'National Gateway' project, a double-stack rail initiative designed to create a more efficient freight transportation link between mid-Atlantic ports and consumers in the Midwest
Air Industry Slams Latest TSA Directive, Casting Doubt On 100% Screening Plan BMI believes that the US Transport Security Authority (TSA) has caught the airfreight industry off guard by issuing an unexpected directive that calls for increased surveillance on high-risk international shipments. The directive has been subject to criticism within the industry for its sudden implementation and its lack of clarity. BMI believes the TSA will need to work more closely with the industry in future to ensure the success of tighter security measures.
Risks to Outlook
The key risk over the coming quarters is the potential for an oil price spike amid unrest in MENA pushing up domestic energy prices and stifling the consumer recovery, a scenario which does not bode well for the freight transport sector.
Other downside ownside risks to our outlook present themselves in the form of a slower than expected recovery in US consumer demand. Our lacklustre outlook for the US economy, and in particular, worries over sustained structural unemployment, could negatively affect consumer spending. In turn, this would have a negative effect on import levels and therefore the freight transport sector.
A further downside risk is the possibility of a slowdown in China. Overheating of the Chinese economy could lead to withdrawal in 2011, which would put downwards pressure on US growth, negatively affecting our outlook for the US freight transport sector.
- Executive Summary
- Headline Industry Data
- Key Industry Trends
- SWOT Analysis
- USA Road Haulage Industry SWOT
- United States Business Environment SWOT
- United States Economic SWOT
- United States Business Environment SWOT
- Industry Trends and Developments
- Market Overview
- Inland Waterways
- Industry Forecast
- Table: Road Freight,
- Table: Rail Freight,
- Air Freight
- Table: Air Freight,
- Maritime And Inland Waterways
- Table: Maritime Freight - Throughput, 2008-2015 ('000 tonnes)
- Table: Inland Waterway Freight,
- Table: Trade Overview,
- Table: Key Trade Indicators,
- Table: Main Import Partners, 2002-2009 (US$mn)
- Table: Main Export Partners, 2002-2009 (US$mn)
- Global Oil Products Price Outlook
- Table: Oil Product Price Assumptions, Q410-Q411 (US$/bbl)
- Table: Oil Product Price Data And Forecasts, 2008-2015 (US$/bbl)
- Macroeconomic Outlook
- United States - Economic Activity
- Political Outlook
- Company Profiles
- CSX Transportation
- YRC Worldwide
- Norfolk Southern Corporation (Norfolk Southern)
- Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway
- Horizon Lines
- Delta Cargo
- BMI Methodology
- How We Generate Our Industry Forecasts
- Transport Industry