Economy Watch

Heavy trucks orders in the US and Canada dropped for the fifth straight month in May, falling 11 percent from April, as the truck market recovered from a sharp surge in sales in 2014, FTR said.

The value of goods trucked across the U.S.-Mexican border is outpacing the number of trucks making the crossing, rising twice as fast, U.S. transportation and trade data show.

Despite an uncertain economy, cross-border truck rates between the U.S. and Canada are rising, driving up overall trucking costs for Canadian shippers, Nulogx says. Currency fluctations and the need to secure capacity likely play a part in the price hikes.

U.S. shippers’ expectations for freight growth has dropped to its lowest levels in nearly five years, according to a recent survey.

US, Japan flags
Merchandise trade between Japan and the United States is expanding at a breakneck pace, as Japan’s exports and imports both charged ahead by more than 20 percent for the second straight month in April on a year-over-year basis.

Contract truckload rates are defying economic gravity, rising in April when truck tonnage and spot market rates slipped. The cause: capacity. Shippers apparently are willing to pay more to secure it for the long-term.

Spot market truck freight volumes in the U.S. dropped 10 percent in April from March, but remained above April 2013 levels, according to DAT Solutions. The sagging spot market is another indication that the U.S. economy has yet to find the lever to pull to restore the stronger growth it enjoyed in 2014.

Palletways, one of several groups offering shippers a palletized freight network in Europe, says it plans eastward expansion as cross-border volume within its network grows.

Truck tonnage slipped 3 percent in April from March and rose only 1 percent from a year ago, but remains well above 2013 levels, according to the American Trucking Associations. That signals trucking may be driving across a new economic plateau.

The number of tractor-trailers crossing U.S. borders rose 2.4 percent in the first quarter, following a 4 percent increase last year, according to Department of Transportation data. Border crossings between the U.S. and Mexico outpaced U.S.-Canadian truck traffic.