Recent reports paint upbeat picture for transport, logistics activities

Transportation clearly is one of the bright spots for a US economy that is recovering from recession at an agonizingly slow pace. Several recent reports show how the transportation and logistics sectors have been steadily gaining speed in recent months.

The Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) released its 22nd “Annual State of Logistics Report,” presented by Penske Logistics. The report reveals that business logistics costs rose to 8.3% of US Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2010, as compared to 7.7% the previous year. Further analysis shows that 2010 was about on par with 2005, and still well below the pre-recession years.

This year's report revealed that the cost of the US business logistics system jumped 10.4% in 2010, making up for more than half of last year's decline. Business logistics costs rose to $1.2 trillion, an increase of $114 billion from 2009. Inventory carrying costs increased 10.3% last year due to higher costs for taxes, obsolescence, depreciation, and insurance, which were offset by a further drop in the inventory carrying rate and warehousing costs.

Transportation costs were up 10.3% from 2009 levels, with trucking lagging behind the performance of other modes, rising only 9.3 percent compared to an average of 15.4% for the other modes combined. Manufacturing and business spending were the bright spots during much of 2010, while consumer goods production was almost flat. Industrial production was up 5.3% in 2010, after declining 11.2% the year before. The recovery from the recession has been elusive and more prolonged than any other in US history, with the slow growth presenting another year of challenges for the logistics industry.

The “State of Logistics Report” is available to CSCMP members free of charge as part of their member benefits at http://cscmp.org/memberonly/state.asp. For non-members, the price of the report is $395.00 US.

The monthly Logistics Market Snapshot from Georgia Innovation Logistics shows that in April, US ports exported more than $175 billion of cargo, the highest on record. Reports estimate that the US 3PL market is set to grow 10.9% this year to a record $141.2 billion. Intermodal rail traffic in May 2011 was 7.5% higher than May 2010 and 0.8% higher than April 2011. Intermodal loadings have experienced year-over-year gains for 18 straight months.

Archives of these monthly snapshots are posted to: snapshot.georgialogistics.org. For more information about the Logistics Market Snapshot or the many other resources and activities of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics please contact: Page Siplon, executive director ([email protected]).

A recent report from the US Maritime Administration shows that ship traffic through US ports grew by 13% in 2010. More than 7,500 oceangoing vessels made 62,747 US port calls last year.

Notably, 35% of those port calls were tankers carrying oil and natural gas. Thirty-one percent were by container ships hauling a wide range of cargoes, including chemicals in tank containers. Ninety-seven percent of the tankers were double-hull vessels, up from 78% five years ago.

The Vessel Call Snapshot 2010 report is available online at http://www.marad.dot.gov/documents/Vessel_Calls_at_US_Ports_Snapshot.pdf.

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