Unpacking the Hurricane Harvey Data, Part II


By Noël Perry, Chief Economist, Truckstop.com

Following Hurricane Harvey, Truckstop.com has committed its formidable data resources and insight to give markets a running commentary on the storm’s effects on trucking in Texas and Houston, specifically. This is our second report on Harvey’s effects, up-to-date through August 31st, as the last of the rain falls in Texas. You can read our first report, written in the middle of the storm, here.

The data is showing outbound volumes still well below normal. Volume is down more than 20% over the last four days in Texas, and over 40% in Houston. Obviously, South Texas shippers are still heavily restricted by the storm. In line with this weakness, prices are depressed, about 7% in Texas, overall, and 13% in Houston. There are no signs of positive movement in either yet, although rates have apparently stabilized at the lower level.

Inbound shipments to Houston have decreased even more, over 70% for the last week, showing normal receivers are nowhere near operational. Still, inbound is up 26% in Texas overall. The freight community appears to be staging supplies in preparation for upcoming moves to the gulf coast. Inbound rates are up 6% to Texas on the back of that increased volume. Additionally, inbound rates into Houston are up 21%, despite the collapse in volume. This is apparently in recognition of the difficult operating conditions along the gulf – fleets and drivers are requesting more for

As of September 1st, we’ve heard some port facilities are reopening. This is the beginning of a return to higher levels of activity, if not yet normalcy (which Houston won’t likely return to for months). Our next report, mid-week, should show some signs of that renewed activity.