Truckload pricing on upward path, says new index from Cass Information Systems and Avondale Partners

A new indicator for truckload pricing, which was recently introduced by Cass Information Systems, the largest payer of freight bills with more than $17 billion in annual freight spend, and investment firm Avondale Partners, disclosed this week that per-mile truckload pricing saw significant gains in October.

By ·

A new indicator for truckload pricing, which was recently introduced by Cass Information Systems, the largest payer of freight bills with more than $17 billion in annual freight spend, and investment firm Avondale Partners, disclosed this week that per-mile truckload pricing saw significant gains in October.

Cass and Avondale said that this report is based on actual freight invoices paid on behalf of Cass clients, which accounted for more than $17 billion in 2010, and uses January 2005 as its base month. And they added that this index “isolates” the linehaul component of full truckload costs from other components such as fuel and accessorials, which in turn provides an accurate reflection of trends in baseline truckload prices.

Entitled the Cass Truckload Lineaul Index, the report stated that with the index valued at 108.8 in October—with a base value of 100—truckload pricing was up 9.8 percent in October. While this is an impressive annual increase, it falls short of September’s 111.0 index reading and annual pricing growth of 11.0 percent, which is the highest linehaul pricing increase from carriers since the 2005 baseline period, according to Cass and Avondale.

The report’s authors noted that October’s gains “reaffirms that capacity remains tight and carriers are being more disciplined regarding pricing and capacity additions in this cycle.” This has been the case for several months, given that tight capacity has created an environment in which carriers have regained leverage on the pricing side, following a particularly difficult 2009 and into 2010, which saw carriers take deep discounts at a time when there was more excess capacity.

Donald Broughton, Avondale Partners managing director, wrote in an October research note that the objective of this index was to deliver a more timely barometer of truckload pricing than the one provided by the American Trucking Associations (ATA), which does not fully “remove the effect of diesel in its revenue per mile series,” adding that the ATA’s revenue per mile series—on both a seasonally-adjusted or non-seasonally adjusted basis—tracks more closely with Cass’ Truckload Total Cost (per mile) Index, which is more sensitive to changes in diesel than with Cass’ Truckload Linehaul (per mile) Index. He added that whereas the ATA reports truckload pricing roughly 45 days after the end of the month, Cass data is ready to be analyzed three-to-five days after the end of the month.

“The fact that Cass processes $17 billion in freight bills annually is significant,” Broughton told LM in an interview. “The biggest concern initially when putting this together was protecting confidential information of Cass’ customers, as many of them compete directly with each other and do not want each other to have access to their respective freight spend. Once that was taken care of it is a matter of going through the data and delineating it to strip out accessorial and fuel-related charges.”

Removing fuel from the equation provides a better gauge of actual base prices, too, for both shippers and carriers, in that it provides a better baseline for gauging rates, said Broughton.

While Cass and Avondale are currently focusing on truckload pricing for this index, Broughton said they will also collaborate to put together similar ones for other modes in the future.


About the Author

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. Contact Jeff Berman

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!

Latest Whitepaper
The Internet of Things and the Modern Supply Chain
Learn today how the internet of things is transforming supply chain operations.
Download Today!
From the February 2017 Issue
As the new administration sends waves of uncertainly through the global trade community, this could be the best time ever for shippers to build an investment case for GTM. Here are five trends you need to watch if you’re about to put these savvy systems to work
Carrier Consolidation Keeps Shippers Guessing
Getting Value from the Cloud
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Advance your career with the fastest growing logistics certification – APICS CLTD
During this webcast presenters will give an overview of APICS and the new Certified in Logistics, Transportation and Distribution (CLTD) designation. Learn how the CLTD program can help you stay on top of current trends and advance your career.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
ASEAN Logistics: Building Collectively
While most of the world withdraws inward, Southeast Asia is practicing effective cooperation between...
2017 Rate Outlook: Will the pieces fall into place?
Trade and transport analysts see a turnaround in last year’s negative market outlook, but as...

Logistics Management’s Top Logistics News Stories 2016
From mergers and acquisitions to regulation changes, Logistics Management has compiled the most...
Making the TMS Decision: Ariens Finds Just the Right Fit
The third time is the charm for this U.S. manufacturer on the hunt for a third-party logistics (3PL)...