Even before disappointing results from JB Hunt – one of my leading indicators – and well before the Coronavirus, the Cass freight index showed December volume down 7.9% while spend was only down 6.2%. This is not good news.
Note the change in intermodal cost – no wonder some companies are converting to truck.
Looks like “Precision Railroading” (running bigger trains with fewer marshaling stops) is working to cut costs:
- Union Pacific is cutting 8% of its staff this year and reduced 11% last year
- CSX cut 8% last year
There is a big turnaround from paying $25,000 signing bonuses to fill important jobs in 2017.