The Counsel of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), along with Penske Logistics, has released the 2015 State of Logistics Report Quarterly Update for the US industry.
Though the strong economic growth experienced for much of 2014 began to weaken in the fourth quarter of 2014 and has continued into the first quarter of 2015, there is evidence that we can anticipate the economy to gain momentum throughout 2015. Coming off of the best year for the supply chain industry since the Great Recession, the report’s Q1 2015 update highlights.
The strengthening US GDP growth rate: Consumer confidence rose substantially during 2014. US GDP grew faster than 3.5 percent in four of the last six quarters. Following negative GDP growth in the first quarter of 2014, caused mainly by bad winter weather, GDP grew at 4.6 percent in the second quarter, 5 percent in the third quarter and ended with a 2.2 percent fourth quarter growth rate.
Impacts of the 2014 GDP slowdown: Many issues contributed to the slowdown that will be impacting the industry for the next three to six months. Catalysts of the slowdown include a growth in imports, slower business inventory investment and a drop in government spending. In addition, the recently settled International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILQU) contract came after a prolonged nine-month series of slowdowns and port closures, causing a freight gridlock that impacted various sectors.
Trends in shipment volumes and freight outlays: The American Trucking Associations reported that truck tonnage rose 1.2 percent in January. Truck tonnage was up 3.5 percent for 2014. On the other hand, railroad carloadings fell more than 19 percent and intermodal loads dropped more than 15 percent.