Arkansas Transportation Report: Arkansas River traffic up 10% through first quarter of 2017

by Talk Business & Politics staff (staff2@talkbusiness.net) 67 views 

Editor’s note: The Arkansas Transportation Report is managed by Talk Business & Politics and sponsored by the Arkansas Trucking Association and the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce. Other transportation industry related stories can be found on the Arkansas Transportation Report landing page.

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Traffic through the first three months of 2017 on the Arkansas River (McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System) to­taled 3.246 million tons, up 10% compared to the January-March period of 2016. It’s the first time since 2014 (3.062 million tons) that tonnage on the Arkansas River has topped the 3 million mark the first three months of the year. There were 1.154 million tons shipped.

Inbound tonnage on the Arkansas River in the January-March period totaled 1.271 million tons, down 2% compared to the same three-month period in 2016. Outbound tonnage was 1.250 million tons, up 32%, and internal tonnage (tons shipped between ports on the river) totaled 724,588 tons, up 3%.

ENPLANEMENTS STILL RISING
Traffic continues to rise at the state’s three largest commer­cial airports through the first three months of 2017, with Fort Smith still setting the pace.

Enplanements — or outbound passengers — at Fort Smith Regional Airport, the state’s third-largest airport, totaled 20,236 in the January-March period, up 11.65% from the same three-month period in 2016. March enplanements totaled 7,528, up 8.26% from 6,953 enplanements in March 2016.

Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport (XNA) in Highfill, the second-largest airport in the state, totaled 147,138 in Janu­ary-March, up 6.98% from 137,540 in the year-ago period. March enplanements totaled 55,396, up 8.5% from 51,022 en­planements in March 2016.

After a start to the year that was essentially flat, enplane­ments at Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport in Little Rock are now on the rise, from 215,071 in January-March in 2016 to 221,244 in the same period this year, up 2.87%. March enplanements actually jumped at Clinton National Airport, from 79,080 a year ago to 85,028 this year.

SHIPMENTS FALL SLIGHTLY, EXPENDITURES STAY POSITIVE
The March Cass Freight Shipments Index came in at 0.9% growth over the same month in 2016, weaker than the 1.9% Feb­ruary year-over-year change, but it’s worth noting that March 2016 was one of the least negative months for the shipments index and therefore serves as a tougher comparison.

The 0.9% year-over-year increase in the March Cass Ship­ments Index is yet another data point suggesting the first positive indication in October, which broke a string of 20 months in nega­tive territory, may have indeed been a change in trend.

After taking a positive turn for the first time in 22 months in January, freight expenditures (the total amount spent on freight) continued trending upward in March, up 3.0% over the year-ago period of March 2016. Cass uses data from $26 billion in annual freight transactions to create the Index. The data comes from a Cass client base of more than 350 large shippers.

Link here for a PDF of the April 2017 Transportation Report.

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