As the nation’s largest payer of freight bills, Cass manages $28 billion annually in freight spend, enabling Cass to compile meaningful data that serves as an indicator of transportation industry trends. The Cass Truckload Linehaul Index® is a measure of market fluctuations in per-mile truckload linehaul rates, independent of additional cost components such as fuel and accessorials. Cass partners with the securities analyst firm Broughton Capital LLC, who provides the analysis we offer each month.
The Cass Truckload Linehaul Index for March continued the run of increases that began in November 2017. Truckload linehaul rates paid (both contract and spot) were 4.8% higher than last March, with a two-year stacked increase of 12.0%. The index value of 139.9 was just shy of the all-time high established in December 2018.
“We expect continued nominal strength in coming months, but at slightly lower percentage increases, as comparisons grow increasingly tough in coming months,” said Donald Broughton, analyst and commentator for the Cass Indexes. “We are lowering our realized pricing forecast for 2019 (from 2% to 5%) to 1% to 3%.” He cited that spot rates, after peaking above contract rates briefly in 2018, are below contract rates by a margin that is likely unsustainable. If/when they increase, they should continue to put negative pressure on both contract rates and realized pricing.
The Cass Truckload Linehaul Index is an accurate, timely indicator of market fluctuations in per-mile truckload pricing. The index isolates the linehaul component of full truckload costs from other components (e.g. fuel and accessorials), providing an accurate reflection of trends in baseline truckload prices.
Data within this unique index is derived from actual freight invoices paid on behalf of Cass’ clients. The index uses January 2005 as its base month.