In spite of some ill-informed denials of cliffs and desperate attempts to cling to three-month-old and six-month-old data, while taking quarterly earnings statements out of context, the reality of the decline in imports and the crash in freight volumes continues.
In fact, imports have dropped for four months in a row. Trading Economics can give you all the stats behind this softening (not a recession or cliff, mind you) in imports. It doesn’t even have to create obscure plot charts and claim that since it never happened before (you know, the worldwide economic shutdown and restart) it certainly could not cause historical data to be rendered useless.
Or, could it?
According to the report, imports fell in June, July, August, and September. Also, October is forecasted to be down and, as I have reported, bookings for TEUs from all ports to the U.S. are down more than 50% from the level they were at in May of this year. Moreover, imports are at a level almost one-third of one year ago.
(Don’t tell me about it not being possible. Remember the shutdown of the entire world economy and American consumers sitting at home with stimulus money falling out of their pockets? The numbers do not lie and no amount of history can change it.)
Container bookings have been slumping for the last five months at the same time that the CPI is at historically high levels…I guess that’s why the forecast is for imports to continue to slump until after Q1 2023. Maybe they understand that it takes a while for a booking to actually physically make it on shore.
Imports to the U.S. are a major driving force for the domestic U.S freight economy. They are also indicative of our overall economic strength. The fact that they are slumping is why even J.B. Hunt is bearish on the 4Q.
Some people must think we can’t read because it is pretty clear to me after reading this article in FleetOwner that the best-positioned carrier in the country (in terms of pivoting from OTR to Intermodal, etc..) is warning us that the future does not require shades.
But, I’ll still wear mine at night.
When the CEO of a major public carrier, maybe THE major public carrier, uses words like “increased level of caution” for the future, it should not be taken lightly. It certainly was not offered in a flippant manner.
The full quote from CEO John Roberts was, “Further evidence has presented itself over the course of the quarter that requires an increased level of caution and awareness on broader trends and economic activity.”
Maybe he was just sandbagging and is gonna blow our minds with the fourth quarter results.
We can hope.
Peace and love.
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