Newly released figures on the health of the North American freight marketplace as well as on U.S. truckload linehaul and intermodal rates show all are at or near record highs.
Both the shipments and expenditures indexes in the Cass Freight Index extended their run into positive territory during March, and are displaying accelerating strength.
The shipments index registered 1.209, up just 0.9% from February, but it also posted a whopping 11.9% improvement from March 2017.
The expenditures index increased even more to a level of 2.723, a 15.6% jump in March from the same time a year ago while being unchanged from the month before.
The reason, according to Donald Broughton, founder and managing partner of Broughton Capital, an economic and equity research firm, who provides analysis of the report, is that “freight volume has continued to grow at such a pace that capacity in most modes has become extraordinarily tight.”
Broughton also said, “In turn, pricing power has erupted in those modes to levels that spark overall inflationary concerns in the broader economy, however fear of long-term inflationary pressure is moderate given technology provides multiple ways to increase asset utilization and price discovery in all parts of the economy, especially in transportation.”
According to him, this growth in both freight shipments and expenditures is a sign the U.S. economy is not only growing, but rather the intensity of the growth is stronger.
Data within the index includes all domestic freight modes and is derived from $25 billion in freight transactions processed by Cass annually on behalf of its client base of hundreds of large shippers.
You can read the full report here.
Meantime, two other gauges have also posted impressive numbers for March.
The March Cass Truckload Linehaul Index continued the acceleration established over the last four months by posting a 7.2% year-over-year