Transportation Activity ‘Mostly Positive’ as Economy Continues Expansion, Fed Says


The overall economy continued to expand across most sectors and regions of the country from July to mid-August, and reports on transportation activity were mixed but mostly positive overall, the Federal Reserve said.

Trucking activity was stable in the Richmond district but declined in the Atlanta district, with the Dallas district reporting only slight growth in transportation, the Fed said in its Beige Book report released Sept. 2. The survey is based on reports gathered by regional Fed banks to give an anecdotal picture of the economy.

Shipments in the Richmond area strengthened in the second half of August, according to one executive with a trucking firm in that district.

The report said that an electronic logging mandate scheduled to be issued this month “is expected to adversely affect smaller trucking firms and bring additional business to the larger firms that already are in compliance. Shippers have notified trucking executives that demand is expected to be high through the end of the calendar year.”

The Cleveland district reported contraction in freight volume, but the Minneapolis district noted robust port activity.

Trucking contacts in the Atlanta region cited slight decreases in overall tonnage but said tonnage was up notably year-over-year.

Reports indicated that freight volume contracted slightly in the Cleveland area, but growth was seen in intermodal transportation, electronics and chemicals. Volume in the Cleveland area is expected to grow moderately along seasonal trends in the next few months, according to the Fed.

Boston, San Francisco and Dallas districts specifically referenced the China slowdown as a source of weaker demand for some products, including chemicals, wood products and high-tech goods. The word “China” or “Chinese” was mentioned 11 times. It was not mentioned in July’s report, Bloomberg News reported.

The Fed releases its Beige Book report eight times a year. The report, which covered July 3-Aug. 24, was prepared by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.