On To the Numbers:
- Shipments were down 3.1% YoY
- Expenditures were down 3.8% YoY
And the industrial recession is on. I think they rightfully state that the culprit may be the contraction in inventories. I have written many times about the growth in inventory relative to sales and I think companies have realized they need to get rid of those inventories. This means most product is already here and in the warehouses / stores and this reduces the need for transportation immensely. Why buy new product when you are so dramatically overstocked.
|Destocking takes bps out of GDP|
This graph, from CASS, tells the story that destocking, while slowing down, is still a drag on the economy. CASS says they are continuing to be concerned about too many autos, elevated inventory relative to sales and the fact that the consumer has not really dove in with both feet (or open wallet).
Now, the key issue will be whether the Fed increases interest rates in December as everyone expects them to. That will be a real problem as the economy, even if you think it is good, is truly running on just about one cylinder.
What does this mean for shippers and providers:
I think the data is clear, and has been for at least two years now, and it is telling us that the shippers are in control (especially in ocean freight) and will be for the foreseeable future. Of course, this is nothing to write home about as this means the economy is soft. However, if you are shipping and you have a nice business you should take advantage of these soft times. Believe me, when it swings, you better duck. And, as all my readers know, you will not get benefit because you overpaid in a slow environment.
- If you have not bid freight in a while - do it now.
- Lock in rates for two years if you can - a nice hedge
- Move to a market based fuel system to take out any fuel fluctuations in the rating structure
- Watch tender turn down rates. This will act as a great "early warning" telling when / if the tide turns (don't expect this until 2018)