Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!


Cass Freight Index inches down in December

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
January 07, 2011

Freight volumes finished 2010 on a somewhat uneven growth path in December, according to the most recent edition of the Cass Information Systems Freight Index.

The index, which measures the number of shipments and expenditures that are processed through Cass’s account payable systems, has been up in eight of the last ten months.

December shipments at 1.049 were down 3.6 percent compared to November’s 1.088, but shipments remained over 1.0 for the eighth straight month, with May 2010’s 1.014 shipment mark being the first time shipments eclipsed 1.0 since November 2008. December shipments were up 12.4 percent year-over-year.

December shipment expenditures at 1.912 were down 3.9 percent compared to November’s 1.989. Expenditures were up an even 20 percent compared to December 2009.

As LM has previously noted, many trucking industry executives and analysts consider the Cass Freight Index as an accurate barometer of freight volumes and market conditions, with Credit Suisse analyst Chris Ceraso stating in research notes that the Cass Freight Index sometimes leads the American Trucking Associations (ATA) tonnage index at turning points, which lends to the value of the Cass Freight Index.

The ATA recently reported that its advance seasonally-adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage index was down 0.1 percent in November, following a revised 0.9 percent bump in October. The ATA also reported that its not seasonally-adjusted index (NSA), which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by fleets before any seasonal adjustment, was 108.9 in November, down 3.7 percent from October and up 8.3 percent year-over-year.

The Cass and ATA numbers come at a time when there continue to be various underlying mixed signals regarding the economic recovery and its strength. While December retail numbers were strong, anecdotal evidence indicates that they typically do not factor into December numbers, as those numbers are based on orders made by manufacturers and retailers earlier in the year.

But in any event, it has not stopped carriers from being optimistic about freight volume prospects for 2011.

“It may be a seasonal effect, but it is clear things are picking up on a sequential basis lately, but there is still a long way to go to really get back to where things were before the downturn,” a truckload carrier told LM.

And while the Cass Freight Index was down on a sequential basis in two of the last three months of 2010, a research note by Robert W. Baird analyst Jon Langenfeld indicated that freight trends overall are stable, with lean inventories and modest restocking offsetting consumer demand headwinds from earlier in the year.

“Despite a more muted peak than expected, November trucking volumes were better than seasonal as peak season extended longer than expected,” wrote Langenfeld. “Demand outlook for 2011 is positive, with industrial end-markets likely outperforming retail.”

For more stories on trucking, click here.

About the Author

Jeff Berman headshot
Jeff Berman
Group News Editor

Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


Subscribe to Logistics Management magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your
entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

The Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported this week that U.S. trade with its North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners Canada and Mexico increased 5.4 percent from May 2013 to May 2014 at $103.9 billion.

With an eye on making transportation of crude oil by rail (CBR) and ethanol safer following various tragic accidents over the last year, the United States Department of Transportation yesterday released details regarding its rulemaking proposal designed to improve how large quantities of flammable materials by rail can be moved in a safer manner.

Getting items ordered online to your home on a same-day basis is as important or relevant as it needs to be, and it depends on things like the type of products being ordered and its relative urgency as well. This was put into better perspective for me during a recent conversation I had with Dr. Victor Allis, CEO of Quintiq, a supply chain vendor specializing in a single optimization and planning platform.

Diesel prices dropped for the third straight week, with the average price per gallon seeing a 2.5 percent decline to $3.869 per gallon, according to the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Seasonally-adjusted (SA) for-hire truck tonnage in June dropped 0.8 percent on the heels of a revised 0.9 percent (from 1.0 percent) increase in May and was up 2.3 percent annually.

Article Topics

News · Freight · Trucking · Cass Freight Index · All topics

Comments

Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.


© Copyright 2013 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA