Cass truckload pricing index rose 6.7 percent in November

Cass truckload pricing index rose 6.7 percent in November

Strong industrial production and unprecedented levels of port congestion translated to higher truckload linehaul rates in November, pushing the Cass Truckload Linehaul Index up 6.7 percent year-over-year. The Cass Intermodal Price Index rose 3.1 percent year-over-year.

The increase in the pricing indices for November follows a 4.2 percent year-over-year increase in the Cass Freight Index for the month. This year, the Cass shipment index hit its highest reading for November since the end of the recession in 2009.

West Coast port congestion contributed to higher truck freight and intermodal volumes in November, Rosalyn Wilson, senior business analyst with Parsons, said in her commentary on the November Cass Freight Index report.

“Not all shippers were able to avoid deliveries to West Coast ports in November and they are experiencing three-week — or longer — delays in receiving their goods,” Wilson said. She doesn’t expect West Coast port congestion to clear up before the end of the year.

That congestion and stronger U.S. freight demand boosted shipper spending — the Cass expenditures index was up 5 percent year-over-year last month — as surface transportation rates rose alongside demand. 

“Contract pricing has been accelerating of late after a drawn-out bid season,” Avondale Partners, which produces the index for Cass Information Systems, said in a statement. “We are not surprised to see our index continue to post mid-to-high single digit gains.”

Avondale Partners expects truckload rates to remain elevated through the fourth quarter, and said rates should rise 4 to 6 percent in 2015, “with the higher end looking increasingly likely.”

The increase in intermodal pricing slowed from 3.9 percent in October, largely because of lower fuel prices, Avondale Partners said. But the equity research firm said base intermodal pricing is increasing at a rate “that surpasses the lag due to decreasing fuel pricing.”

Contact William B. Cassidy at wcassidy@joc.com and follow him on Twitter: @wbcassidy_joc