Cass Freight Index shows November shipment and rate gains

By LM Staff ·

December 17, 2020

Freight shipments and expenditures, for the month of November, were solid overall and highlighted an ongoing strong run of freight market improvements, according to the new edition of the Cass Freight Index, which was published this week by Cass Information Systems.

Many freight transportation and logistics executives and analysts consider the Cass Freight Index to be the most accurate barometer of freight volumes and market conditions, with many analysts noting that the Cass Freight Index sometimes leads the American Trucking Associations (ATA) tonnage index at turning points, which lends to the value of the Cass Freight Index.

The report’s November shipments reading—at 1.154—saw a 2.7% annual increase, topping October’s 2.4% annual gain (the first time this reading was positive in nearly two years), while the November reading trailed October’s 1.180, which represents the strongest growth for the metric, going back to October 2018, as well as highest reading since September 2019.

Cass explained that the annual gain was largely due to an easier annual comparison, with shipments off 2.2% from October to November.

And November freight expenditures—at 2.971—headed up 5.7% annually, topping October’s 3.1% annual spread, while growing 2.9% from October to November.

The report observed that this increase “reflects a pickup in rate inflation as the effects of record truckload spot rates gradually broaden out into contract rates,” adding that “[c]oming into the end of 2020m expenditures are testing the highs posted in late 2018/early 2019.”

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