November 09, 2018 | Freight Waves

Tariffs Take Toll on Outbound Freight Market

Rail, truck demand a secondary casualty in trade dispute

Tariffs Take Toll on Outbound Freight Market

While U.S. inbound freight volumes may be a beneficiary of the U.S. and China trade war, the tariff fight is taking its toll on outbound freight at the peak shipping season for grain, reports Freight Waves.

Speaking at an investor conference this week, Union Pacific chief financial officer Rob Knight said the railroad is seeing lower volumes of grain carloads in the fourth quarter. Not surprisingly, Knight attributed the slowdown to China’s imposition of 25% duties on U.S. soybean imports in July.

“Ag products continue to face uncertainty in the export markets due to tariffs,” Knight told Freight Waves. “We’re not seeing the normal seasonal ramp in agriculture exports.”

The drop off in soybean shipments is reverberating through the transportation industry. Jared Flinn, chief executive of Missouri-based bulk freight loadboard, says he has seen softer demand for grain-related truckload freight in the Midwest now as the current soybean harvest is being moved to market.

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