ST. LOUIS, MO – Cass Information Systems says a year-end slump in retail sales (down 0.9 percent in December according to the National Retail Federation) contributed to a decline in December freight shipments.
According to the Cass Freight Indexes, shipment volume was down 6.3 percent in December. There was a matching 6.7 percent decline in freight spending.
However, the December figures mark the highest end-of-year values for both indexes since the beginning of the recession in 2007. Traditionally, the peak holiday shipping season falls in the July-to-September time frame as retailers build up their inventories.
Cass says falling diesel fuel prices continue to lower freight costs. Additionally, the decline in volume relieved much of the pressure on capacity, which pushed down both the demand for trucks on the spot market and spot prices.
December 2014 expenditures are 3.6 percent higher than the corresponding month in 2013.
Contract rates have been rising as carriers gain more pricing control, allowing them to pass on their increased costs, especially those for drivers.
The ATA revenue per mile index jumped 6.0 percent in November compared to November 2013, which was much higher than the 3.6 percent year-over-year increase seen in the first 10 months of 2014.
Most of the rise occurred during the fourth quarter, as the ATA reported a 5.0 percent gain in revenue per mile for truckload carriers. Spot pricing was more volatile and generally higher during the second and third quarters when demand was somewhat higher.
You can view the summary and download the full report here.
The Cass Freight Index represents monthly levels of shipment activity, in terms of volume of shipments and expenditures for freight shipments. Cass Information Systems processes more than $22 billion in annual freight payables on behalf of its clients. The Cass Freight Index is based upon the U.S. domestic freight shipments of hundreds of Cass clients representing a broad spectrum of industries. The index uses January 1990 as its base month.
Have your say
We won't publish or share your data