Beige Book: Trucking activity mixed

Transportation services were generally positive among the six Federal Reserve districts that reported for the latest edition of the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book of economic conditions, but trucking-specific activity was mixed. Only two districts — Richmond and Atlanta — mentioned trucking in particular. The Richmond District said that one executive at a national freight trucking firm indicated that revenues flattened in the district. Another trucking company reported that demand slowed slightly, although that company was able to improve its margins.

In the Atlanta Fed District, trucking contacts reported “a notable increase” in tonnage in November — the first gain since July 2012. In addition, a large truck dealer reported that it is expanding sales to include flatbed trailers in response to anticipated increased movement of construction materials as a result of improvements in the housing sector.

One of the broader transportation concerns mentioned by several districts was declining water levels in the Mississippi River, which is slowing barge traffic and could even halt traffic without relief from the current drought.

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