Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!


Trucking news: Cass Freight Index is up again in May

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
June 02, 2010

As the months go by in 2010, the Cass Information Systems Freight Index continues to show sustained growth.

The Index, which measures the number of shipments and expenditures that are processed through Cass’s account payable systems, indicated that May shipments at 1.014 was 2.3 percent better than April’s .991. And on a year-over-year basis, May shipments were up 9.7 percent compared to May 2009?s 0.913. Cass officials pointed out that this is also the first time shipments are above 1.0 since November of 2008.

May shipment expenditures at 1.784 are up 5.3 percent from April’s 1.689, and are up 19.8 percent year-over-year.

Various trucking industry executives and analysts view the Cass Freight Index as an accurate barometer of freight volumes and market conditions. Credit Suisse analyst Chris Ceraso has frequently stated in research notes that “in the past that the Cass Freight Index sometimes leads the ATA (American Trucking Associations) tonnage index when freight picks up.”

This follows last week’s monthly tonnage report from the American Trucking Associations, which indicated its advanced seasonally-adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index was up in April for the sixth time in seven months, rising 0.9 percent. This comes on the heels of a 0.4 percent March gain.  April’s increase put the SA at 110.2 (2000=100), following a 109.2 March reading, which at that time was its highest reading since November 2008.

The ATA said the SA was up 9.4 percent year-over-year, marking the fifth straight year-over-year gain and its biggest since January 2005.  The ATA added that for the first four months of 2010, SA tonnage was up 6 percent compared to the same timeframe a year ago. 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, hit 111.3 in April, which was down 4.4 percent from March. On an annual basis, the NSA was up 1.7 percent.

“Truck tonnage volumes continue to improve at a solid, yet sustainable, rate,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello in a statement.. “Tonnage is being boosted by robust manufacturing output and stronger retail sales. For most fleets, freight volumes feel better than reported tonnage because the supply situation, particularly in the truckload sector, is turning quickly.”

While consumer spending is inching up and manufacturing gains continue—as evidenced by the most recent Institute for Supply Management PMI index coming in at 59.7 percent, showing growth for the tenth straight month, and the Commerce Department’s recent report that new orders for manufactured durable goods in April were up 2.9 percent from March to $193.9 billion and were up 16.8 percent year-over-year, marking the fourth time in the last five months new orders were up.

Commerce also reported that durable goods shipments were up for the second straight month with a $2.7 billion—or 1.4 percent—gain to $196 billion, following a 2.1 percent March increase and were up 6.2 percent year-over-year.

Data from Commerce and the ISM portend a cautiously optimistic outlook for trucking volumes to a large degree. But Morgan Stanley analyst Bill Greene commented in a recent research report that while the pace of recovery has slowed, “incremental demand is still improving, but marginally slower than historic seasonality would suggest…and incremental supply is trending with normal seasonality.”

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

Even though some of its key metrics dropped sequentially from August to September, the outlook for manufacturing over all remains strong, according to the most recent edition of the Manufacturing Report on Business issued today by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM).

Company officials said that these planned changes, which will take effect on January 4, 2015, will provide for increases in current pay rates and reduce the time it takes for its nearly 15,000 drivers to reach top pay scale.

While the economy has seen more than its fair share of ups and downs in recent years, 2014 is different in that it could be the best year from an economic output perspective in the last several years. That outlook was offered up by Rosalyn Wilson, senior business analyst at Parsons, and author of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) Annual State of Logistics Report at last week’s CSCMP Annual Conference in San Antonio.

Matching last week, the average price per gallon of diesel gasoline dropped 2.3 cents, bringing the average price per gallon to $3.755 per gallon, according to the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA).

A number of key topics impacting the freight transportation and logistics marketplace were front and center at a panel at the Council of Supply Chain Management Annual Conference in San Antonio last week.

Article Topics

News · 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