Economy Watch

U.S. containerized exports rose in the first quarter of the year for the first time after six successive quarters of decline.

Despite "positive" economic indicators, freight volumes seem stuck at a "standstill."

High levels of inventory continue to depress freight demand and help create excess truck capacity.

Shipments of smaller aircraft declined in the first quarter worldwide, as business demand dropped.

Trucking hiring is bumping against a post-recession ceiling as unemployment drops, construction wages rise.

Truckload carriers are struggling to bring capacity in line with demand, as an increase in the first-quarter Truckload Capacity Index shows.

Intra-Asia trade will increasingly benefit from the rapid growth of consumption in Asia as a higher percentage of cargo is shipped to end markets in the region instead of to destinations in other parts of the world.

Freight volumes sputtered in March, climbing 1.4 percent from February and dropping 1.5 percent year-over-year, while shipper spending on transportation dropped 1 percent from February and was down 7 percent from March 2015, according to the Cass Freight Index.

U.S. retail sales may have dropped in March, but demand for toys, especially those related to Disney’s hit movie Frozen, created a surge in containerized toy imports and boosted sales for Hasbro.

Import cargo volume at the largest U.S. container gateways has begun its seasonal rise, but is expected to be largely flat compared with last year’s record high numbers, the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates said in their monthly Port Tracker report.