Food loadings up 0.1% in June, Q2 revised higher
August 2, 2012
April loadings were again revised significantly higher with a surge of 2.7% in occurring in that month alone. We still see very limited growth for the remainder of 2012. Food loadings in June rose just 0.1%, after dropping 0.9% in May, to 8.635 million loadings. Year-over-year growth remains negative but has become less negative of late, down 0.8% in June.
This is a more non-cyclical market segment and generally stays within a narrow band. People always have to eat. The food cycle is now at the point where we will see growth well below industry averages. We anticipate that volume levels will show very slow growth for the next few years.
As stated above, food movements tend to be less cyclical than other markets. On an annual basis volumes grew between 1% and 2% from 2008 to 2011.Food freight was relatively stable from 2006 to 2008. Volumes were surprisingly strong throughout 2008. During the downturn volumes only had 2 quarters of significant quarter-over-quarter declines. This was during the middle of 2009. It was also the only truck segment to show growth in 2009, up 2.1%. Volumes rebounded solidly during 2010, but only recorded growth of 1.4% for the full year. Volumes slowed throughout 2011 but started the year at a high level so annual growth improved to 1.9%. The surge in April helped pull Q2 growth back into positive territory – after dropping the last five quarters.
The outlook for 2012 moved from modestly negative to flat, 2013 modestly improved, and there was no real change to 2014. We will still be below 2% growth in 2013 and 2014. Despite the uptick in Q2, we still don’t expect to see another significant quarter-over-quarter increase in loadings until late 2013, but year-over-year growth will return to positive territory during the second half of the year. After several years of growth, food loadings are looking to be flat in 2012 (previously -0.6%) before turning positive and growing 1.6% in 2013 (previously 0.8%) and 1.8% in 2014.
Food Products are movements of processed foods. This includes such items as cut meats, dairy products, canned goods, milled grain products, sugars, and beverages. It does not include farmed crops or livestock. FTR’s data is seasonally adjusted and measures both short and long-haul OTR segments.
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