Today's Pickup: U.S. Xpress IPO; strong retail numbers

 The New York Stock Exchange on the morning of June 14, 2018. ( Photo: FreightWaves )

The New York Stock Exchange on the morning of June 14, 2018. (Photo: FreightWaves)

Good day,

The retail sales numbers that came out this morning were particularly strong, beating economists’ expectations and posting strong year-over-year growth. Only three of the 13 industry groups tracked had reductions (furniture, food & beverage, and sporting goods), while clothing and accessories and building materials recorded the biggest gains (1.3% MOM and 2.4% MOM respectively). 

“Most of the fundamentals for consumer spending are still solid, since job growth and consumer confidence remains high. Inflation is becoming a bit of a concern, as rising prices are eating away at wage gains, but it still looks like the US consumer is in a good place overall,” wrote Ibrahiim Bayaan, FreightWaves’ chief economist.

Did you know?

Retail sales rose 0.8% in May month-over-month, beating economists’ expectations of a 0.4% increase; this May’s retail numbers were up 5.9% compared to last May.

Quotable:

“This burdensome tax creates excessive costs that are passed on to truckers, who play an essential role in maintaining our nation’s economy. I was happy to introduce legislation to repeal it.”

-Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), on his bill repealing the federal excise tax on new trucks and trailers

In other news:

U.S. Xpress IPO: business expanding but with large debt

Founded in 1985 and headquartered in Chattanooga, Tennessee, U.S. Xpress casts itself as fifth largest asset-based truckload carrier by revenue in the United States. The company provides services throughout the United States but focuses mainly on the eastern half of the country. (Seeking Alpha)

BNSF seeks PTC deadline extension due to interoperability delays

BNSF Railway Co. has asked the U.S. Department of Transportation for a two-year extension to the federally mandated positive train control (PTC) deadline due to interoperability delays with other railroads, the Class I announced yesterday. (Progressive Railroading)

U.S. consumer spending accelerating; labor market robust

U.S. retail sales increased more than expected in May as consumers bought motor vehicles and a range of other goods even as they paid more for gasoline, the latest indication of an acceleration in economic growth in the second quarter. (Reuters)

Brussels launches blockchain freight management app

Brussels Airport has launched its first application using blockchain technology, which it describes as the next step in the landside management tool it is developing with stakeholders in the BRUcargo airfreight community. (Air Cargo News)

US study says market forces will drive economic benefit of growing LNG exports

The US Department of Energy is embracing the idea in a study released Tuesday that LNG exports from the US will provide broad economic benefits over the next two decades regardless of the level of volumes because of how low natural gas prices are forecast to remain during that period. (Hellenic Shipping News)

Final Thoughts:

In terms of employment, we are seeing unemployment at historically low levels. We haven’t seen it below 3.8 percent was December of 1969. What does this mean? The economic rules might be changing a bit. Stimulus could simply lead to inflation, not growth. When labor is this tight, the same things that have been working may not any longer. In transportation, it’s very much an issue. 

FMCSA regulatory developments in terms of personal conveyance and agricultural commodities have certainly added some necessary flexibility. We would presume that the expiring agricultural ELD waiver (June 18) will go away. The larger point is that the next phase of all this is deregulatory. It may not be quick because we are dealing with rule-making, but we may see some significant changes in HOS flexibility, perhaps also as it relates to sleep.

Hammer down everyone!

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