As the nation’s largest payer of freight bills, Cass manages $28 billion annually in freight spend, enabling us to compile meaningful 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. Cass partners with securities analyst firm Broughton Capital LLC, who provides the analysis we offer each month.
The recent rally in diesel prices put enough pressure on rates and demand to push intermodal pricing to yet another all-time high in March. The March Cass Intermodal Index, at 151.9, increased 3.8% sequentially and was 6.1% higher on a year-over-year basis. This marked the thirtieth consecutive month of year-over-year increases. Throughout much of 2018, tight truckload capacity and higher diesel prices created incremental demand and pricing power for domestic intermodal. With with the recent rise in WTI crude from as low as $42 a barrel in late December of last year to just over $64 a barrel, we are expecting the price of fuel’s influence on the demand and pricing power for intermodal services to continue to increase in coming months.
Total pricing for intermodal carriers jumped 6.1% in March (over the previous year), after increasing 6.2% in February, 6.8% in January, 8.6% in December, 10.6% in November, 10.9% in October, 10.1% in September, 11.4% in August.
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.