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.
Truckload linehaul rates continued to increase in February for the 17th straight month. Compared to last year, linehaul costs were up 5.4% (with an index value of 138.4, compared to 100 in January 2005 as the base month). Truckload linehaul costs are now Just shy of the all-time high established in December 2018. The two-year stacked increase is 11.9%. “We expect continued rising costs in coming months, but at slightly lower percentage increases,” said analyst and commentator Donald Broughton.
Both contract rates and spot rates are, of course, included in our index. After peaking above contract rates briefly in 2018, spot rates are now below contract rates by a more ‘normalized’ margin. Because the Cass TL Index is based on actual freight bills paid, we are able to remove the fuel surcharge and accessorials from each invoice and arrive at a purer base price than via any other method. Because shippers can widely vary the amount of contract and spot pricing used throughout a cycle, the Cass data allows us to arrive at the “pricing realized” and is a mixture of both contract and spot.
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.