U.S. truckload linehaul rates increased only slightly in August, while intermodal rates were essentially flat, according to the latest indices from Cass Information Systems.
The Cass Truckload Linehaul Index rose 1.5 percent year-over-year in August and climbed 0.4 percent from July, while the Cass Intermodal Index rose 0.8 percent from a year ago and 0.1 percent from the previous month, the freight billing company said.
That lackluster increase means truckload rates are only likely to increase 1 to 2 percent in the second half of 2013, Avondale Partners said in commentary on the Cass indices. That’s a smaller second half rate hike than many analysts predicted earlier this year.
Overall freight demand has not risen fast enough to squeeze truck capacity to the point where higher rate increases are in the offing. Changes to truck driver hours of service rules have not had much effect on total available truck capacity, Avondale said.
“Although July and August are seasonally weak months and therefore not the best time to judge the effect, we continue to expect overall industry capacity to decline by much less than 1 percent as a result of these rules,” the investment research firm said.
With truckload rates rising so slowly, there’s little impetus to propel intermodal rates higher. Cass expects domestic intermodal linehaul rates to remain essentially flat for the near future. By another measure, intermodal rates fell slightly in early September.
Logistics provider IDS saw intermodal rates inch downward slightly in the week of Sept. 9, falling from a 90-day high the previous week — still lower than year-ago rates.