The latest Logistics Market Snapshot, from the Georgia Center of Innovation, highlights three positive industry trends which portend positive news for logistics practitioners:

  • E-commerce sales are expected to reach $414 billion by 2018, up from a projected $294 billion in 2014. Of the $294 billion this year, $87 billion of online transactions will come from mobile devices. In-store purchases are expected to grow by $300 billion by 2018. (Source: Forrester Research)
  • U.S. railroads originated 570,722 carloads of coal in April 2014, up 6.4% over April 2013 and the best year-over-year gain for coal since January 2011. U.S. railroads also originated 104,946 carloads of grain, up 27.6% over the previous year and the largest year-over-year gain on record. (Source: AAR.org)
  • Worldwide sales of semiconductors reached $78.47 billion during Q1 2014, the industry's highest-ever first quarter sales. March 2014 had an increase of 11.4% from the same month last year marking the industry's largest year-over-year increase in more than three years. (Source: WSTS.org)

Other highlights from this report:

Transportation Indexes:

• Dow Jones Transportation index rose 3.9% during the month of April. (Stock performance of twenty large, well-known U.S. companies in the transportation industry, average of April 10th thru May 10th)

• NASDAQ Transportation Index increased 3.8% in April.

(Averaged share weights of NASDAQ-listed companies classified as transportation companies, average of April 10th thru May 10th.

• The April shipments index rose 1.5% over the previous month and rose 5.5% year-over-year. The April expenditures index rose 2.8% for the month, and increased 10% year-over-year. (Source: Cass Information Systems | Cassinfo.com) (Based upon transportation dollars and shipments of Cass clients comprised of over 400 shipping companies)

Rail:

• Railroad bulk carload freight in April 2014 rose 1.0% from March 2014. Freight traffic in April rose 6.4% from April 2013. Carloads excluding coal increased 6.3% over the previous year. (Source: AAR.org) (Report includes rail car-loadings by 19 different major commodity categories as well as intermodal units)

• Intermodal rail traffic in April 2014 was 9.0% higher than in April 2013, and rose 1.1% from March 2014. Intermodal loadings have experienced year-over-year gains for 53 straight months. (Source: AAR.org) (Report includes rail car-loadings by 19 different major commodity categories as well as intermodal units)

Trucking:

• The ATA’s seasonally adjusted cargo index rose 0.6% in March. The for-hire truck tonnage index rose 3.1% from March 2013. (Source: American Trucking Association | Trucking.org)

• The spot market for truckload freight in April fell 8.6% compared to the previous month, and was 58% higher year-over-year. Truck capacity rose 30% for the month, and was down 5.8% year-over-year. (Source: DAT Trendlines | www.dat.com)

• Orders for heavy-duty Class 8 trucks in North America are expected to total 24,115 units in April 2014. April orders were 11% lower than the previous month and 5% higher year-over-year. (Source: FTR Associates | ftrassociates.com)

Air:

• Global air freight traffic in March increased 5.9% from one year ago, and rose 4.0% from the previous month. North American air freight in March rose 1.9% year-over-year. (Source: IATA.org) (Global air freight covers international and domestic scheduled air traffic.)

• In March, the index of East-West air cargo rates rose 6.8% from the previous month, and was 6.1% higher year-over-year. The average price of air cargo leaving the United States in March stood at $3.34 per kilogram. (Source: Drewry) (The Drewry East-West Air Freight Price Index is based on the average of rates ($US per kg) for air freight services on 21 major East-West routes.)

Ocean Freight:

• U.S. vessel imports in January 2014 totaled nearly 1.6 million TEUs, up 5.7% from the previous year. The number of shipments in January totaled 802,948 units, a 6.9% increase year-over-year. (Source: Zepol Corporation | zepol.com)

• Import volume through major U.S. container ports is expected to increase 3.5% in May from the same month last year. In March, the latest month for which numbers are available, U.S. container ports handled 1.3 million TEUs, a 5.1% increase from the previous month and a 14.5% increase from the same month last year. Total U.S. containerized imports are expected to increase 5.1% in the first half of 2014. (Source: NRF/Hackett Associates)