Arkansas Transportation Report: River traffic rises, ‘choppy’ conditions for freight industry

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 151 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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Arkansas River traffic has improved in the first half of 2016, but the national freight industry continues to face a “choppy” economy, with rail freight down more than 7% in the first 28 weeks of the year.

Tonnage shipped on the Arkansas River in the January-June period totaled 5.913 million tons, up 32.7% compared to 4.455 million tons in the same period of 2015. June saw 979,684 tons shipped on the river, well ahead of the dismal 390,084 tons shipped in June 2015.

Thanks to unusual amounts of rainfall in 2015, tonnage on the Arkansas River was down 15% compared to 2014, and fell below 10 million tons for the first time in at least four years.

The Arkansas Transportation Report also shows that travel out of Arkansas’ three largest commercial airports was up overall in June, with year-to-date traffic up at two of the three airports. January-June enplanements at the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport in Little Rock totaled 486,690, up 2.53% compared to the same period in 2015. June enplanements were 94,989, just ahead of the 94,844 in June 2015.

Enplanements at the second largest airport, Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport (XNA), totaled 316,680 in the first six months of the year, up just 0.63% compared to the same period in 2015. However, the 2015 enplanements set a new record at 647,530. Fort Smith Regional Airport enplanements were 41,593 for the first six months of 2016, 7.26% below the same period in 2015.

arktransreportsponsorsFollowing are other items in the July Arkansas Transportation Report.
• The American Trucking Associations’ Truck Tonnage Index fell 1.5% in June following a revised 2.9% gain in May. Year-to-date tonnage is up 3.7% compared to the same period in 2015.

• According to the Cass Freight Index, June shipments were up 1.7% compared to May, but down 4.3% compared to June 2015. June freight payments were up 3.9% compared to May, but down 8.8% compared to June 2015.

• As of July 16, rail car shipments – including intermodal – were down 6.1% compared to the same week in 2015, and year-to-date shipments are down 7.3%.

• Compared to 2014, U.S. domestic travel increased 3.3% with 2.2 billion person-trips in 2015. Domestic leisure travel, which includes visits to friends and relatives as well as trips taken for outdoor recreation and entertainment purposes, enjoyed a larger increase of 3.6% to 1.7 billion person-trips.

Link here for the complete Arkansas Transportation Report.