Transportation: An Economic Indicator?

My very intuitive partner blogged Monday the 18th of October, 2010 on a topic which I found so interesting that I am translating it in English for my bi-monthly blog article. It is to be read from his point of view.

”I spent thirteen years in the financial markets. Thirteen years trying to predict the economic tendencies with the objective of evaluating currency movements. The engineers of the universe of finance are supposed to have the best tools, best formulas and the best fundamental and technical analysis evolved from the best diplomas. But the truth is they cannot be any farther from reality. How can we truly know the pulse of a current financial and economic situation sitting behind a screen discussing the latest commodity movements based on economic data released in October to explain what happened in August. This information is not very pertinent or actual for analysis, especially coming from the people with whom we greatly respect for their perception and knowledge of high Finance and Economy.

The wisest will tell you that your plumbers opinion is just as valid as the highest specialists, but my thoughts on this have changed over the past 8 years spent in the Montreal Transportation and Logistics market. Instead of your plumber, ask the advise of a trucker, truck broker or 3PL logistician. Transportation is the economy. The basic theories of economics is supply and demand, and Logistics is the industry where these theories become reality. To top it off, this information is in real time.

Over the past eight years I have been an witness exposed like never before to the true reality. I have lived all micro and macro economic evolutions. I have seen how the Quebec economy has fared compared to the Ontarian, Canadian and American. I have witnessed how the habits and mannerisms have adjusted themselves. I have seen a sharp  and rapid reduction in exports to the United States, and how the entrepreneurs and managers have developed new markets internationally and especially domestically, as surprising as it may be. Trust me, all of this is worth much more than knowing the level of stock indexes.

I repeat, all of this in real time.

Does this allow me to know which direction certain currencies will take, interest rates or the stock market. Not more than before, but I am now bored with the analysis’ of my former colleagues, finance specialists. I now know at what point they have now idea… actually, aren’t the ones who put in this current financial situation.

My true source of pertinent information is now found amongst my transportation partners, manufacturers and friends who work as logistics consultants and truck brokers. ”

Although I feel that this article says it all I would just like to make a point. As was mentioned being on the forefront of the true economy, makes us very aware of it’s activities. I can attest, as my associate has done, that the past 2 years virtually day-for-day, has been very unstable, and nearly imposable to predict. The indicators and benchmarks that we had grown accustomed to are not as obvious. On a macro level it is similar, but on a micro level it has been chaos.

Certain industries have all but disappeared, notably, forestry and its transformation bi-products and of course products that have to do with home construction and renovations, while others have exploded. The point I want to make is that since we are so in tune with the economy we boom and bust with it very rapidly and strongly. The freight recession that we have gone through has been disastrous for many people, and we are hoping that the good times will return for all our partners, customers and competitors.