Truckload and intermodal pricing for freight movements were mixed in October, according to data in the most recent editions of the Truckload Linehaul Index and Intermodal Price Index from Cass Information Systems and Broughton Capital.
This pricing data is part of the Cass Truckload Linehaul Index and the Cass Intermodal Linehaul Index, which were both created in late 2011. The indices are based on actual freight invoices paid on behalf of Cass clients, which accounts for more than $23 billion annually and uses 2005 as its base month.
Truckload pricing, which measure linehaul rates, fell 2.5% annually in October, following declines of -2.6% and -2.0% in August and September, respectively. The last three months of declines were preceded by 22 consecutive months of annual gains.
The report added that, in line with seasonal trends, rates saw a sequential gain in October, with a 1.4% gain over September, as October is “one of the highest-demand months of the year for dry van truckload (along with September and June).”
This data is in line with a previous Broughton report from earlier this year, which explained that “the weakness in spot pricing is having an increasingly negative effect,” adding that “even more alarming, the trajectory on a nominal basis strongly suggests that the TL index will go negative next month and stay negative through the end of the year.”
Three reasons were identified for the lower pricing outlook, including:
the Cass TL Linehaul Index for 2018 was up 8.4% annually;
fuel made TL pricing measure from some other data sources in the marketplace appear higher than Cass last year and are set to appear lower than Cass this year; and
after peaking above contract rates briefly in 2018, spot rates are below contract rates by larger margin than Cass and Broughton believe is sustainable and are putting significant negative pressure on both contract rates and realized pricing
On the intermodal side, the Broughton report said October represented the 37th consecutive month of annual gains for intermodal transportation costs, with the caveat that the differential has been narrowing for the past 12 months (through October 2019).
And it added that the Cass Intermodal Price Index, which measures all-in per-mile costs, headed up 0.4% in October after a 0.1% September gain. From September to October, it said costs rose 3.9%.
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