Arkansas Transportation Report: Inaugural Edition Shows Broad Declines

Feb 11, 2016

Credit Talk Business and Politics

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/AIA. Other transportation industry related stories can be found on the Arkansas Transportation Report landing page.

The inaugural Arkansas Transportation Report shows broad declines in train, plane and river traffic, with trucking industry watchers nervous about 2016.

Talk Business & Politics’ newest economic report, the monthly Arkansas Transportation Report (find the PDF link at the end of this story), is designed to provide readers basic and broad information in order to keep them informed of trends and data impacting one of the state’s most important industry sectors.

“Trucking and other forms of transportation are often a leading indicator for state and national economies. Part of our goal with the Arkansas Transportation Report is to give those in and out of the sector an easily consumable document that provides some direction to those leading indicators,” said Michael Tilley, managing editor of Talk Business & Politics.

In this report, you’ll find a compilation of data and news regarding the trucking, railroad, airline, and river barge industries. Individually, these different components of transportation and cargo offer unique insight into the current state of the economy. Combined, the totality of the information paints a much broader picture of the health of the transportation sector.

Key items in the inaugural report include:
• 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.

• Reports are mixed on activity in the national shipping industry at the end of December, but market watchers are not optimistic about the sector getting off to a good start in 2016.

• For the week of Jan. 16, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 506,433 carloads and intermodal units, down 8.2% from the same week a year ago. according to the Association of American Railroads.

• It was a mixed bag for Arkansas’ three largest airports in 2015. Clinton National Airport in Little Rock fell below a million enplanements, the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport (XNA) for the second consecutive year set a new record for traffic, and the Fort Smith Regional Airport saw traffic fall more than 7%.

We will continue to offer more insight and analysis in future reports based on new data becoming available and feedback from our readers. We welcome your thoughts and comments. Please feel free to share them via email at

Talk Business & Politics offers a special thanks to the Arkansas Trucking Association and the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce/Associated Industries of Arkansas for their underwriting of this key report.

Link here for the eight-page PDF of the Arkansas Transportation Report.