Cass Intermodal Price Index

A Measure of Market Fluctuations in Per-Mile Intermodal Freight Costs

As the nation’s largest payer of freight bills, Cass manages more than $26 billion annually in freight spend, enabling us to compile meaningful logistics data that serves as an indicator of transportation industry trends. The Cass Intermodal Price Index™ is a measure of market fluctuations in U.S. domestic intermodal costs.

June 2015

Our latest data point shows that total intermodal costs (all in) fell 2.8% year over year in June – the sixth straight month of year-over-year declines.

As lower fuel surcharges continue to affect the cost of truckload shipping (note: our truckload index does not take fuel into account), many loads are shifting from intermodal to truckload. That said, however, intermodal rates typically mirror changes in fuel and remain competitive. Additionally, efforts to shift modes continue to be challenged by limited capacity.

In its monthly investor report, Avondale Partners stated, “We expect intermodal rates will continue to decline in 2015 as the dramatic drop in diesel prices and even more dramatic drop in oil takes its toll on US domestic demand. … We concede that the extent to which loads can be shifted from domestic intermodal back to over-the-road truck is dependent on trucking capacity, but the ~$0.20 a mile decline in fuel surcharges collected by truckers in the last year has to challenge demand and pricing power for domestic intermodal, especially in shorter lengths of haul.”

View data points from 2005-present.

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Index Definition

The Cass Intermodal Price Index is an accurate, timely indicator of market fluctuations in per-mile U.S. domestic intermodal costs. The index includes all costs associated with the move (linehaul, fuel and accessorials). It is based on costs as of January 2005 and uses a base value of 100.

Data within this unique index is derived from actual freight invoices paid on behalf of Cass’ clients, which totaled over $23 billion in 2013.

Cass partners with the securities analyst firm Avondale Partners LLC to publish this Index.

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