Shipping and Logistics

June Logistics Report

Written by Sandy Williams

Freight levels for dry bulk cargo are slowly recovering from the historic lows seen in first quarter of this year, according to the most recent MID-SHIP Report.

The dry bulk market continues to suffer from an oversupply of vessels and slow demand growth, although rates are generally holding firm in most of the seabourne markets. The Baltic Dry Index was at 610 as of June 10, up from its low on of 290 on February 10, 2016. In April the index climbed above 700 points but fell in unison with lower pricing for iron ore, one of the main commodities followed by the BDI.

The expansion to the Panama Canal will be inaugurated on June 26th with the passage of a single vessel, the container ship Cosco Shipping Panama, which was selected by lottery to be the first. More than 100 of the large Neo-Panamax vessels have booked passage through the locks beginning June 27th. The deeper and wider locks will more than double the cargo capacity of the Panama Canal.

Summer maintenance closures for locks on American rivers are underway. Ports serviced by the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway East to and from New Orleans will be affected by the repairs to the Industrial Canal Locks, scheduled to last around 120 days.

Trucking spot market rates increased in the week of May 29-June 4. Van rates were up 5.2 percent, Reefer 3.2 percent, and flatbed rates 0.5 percent. As of June 6 the U.S. diesel rate was $2.40 per gallon. Flatbed load-to-truck ratio declined from 21.6 to 16.9 loads per truck from April to May. The national flatbed rate the week ending June 4 was $1.93/mile.

The Association of American Railroads reported US rail traffic for the week ending June 4 was 224,258 carloads, down 16.6 percent compared to the same week in 2016. Intermodal volume was 231,008 containers and trailers, down 17.9 percent year over year. Carloads were down 16.6 percent to 224,258 carloads.

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