Truckload linehaul rates rose for the fourth straight month in January, increasing 0.9% from December, according to the Cass Truckload Linehaul Index.

Annually, rates are up 4.1% from last January. Superstorm Sandy may have much to do with the larger-than-normal January increase.

Avondale Partners recently stated, “We believe that the after effects of Hurricane Sandy and the resulting dislocation of freight markets in the Northeast continue to inflate the index, with the impact relatively consistent with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina (rates increased sequentially at ~1% greater than normal for the event month and three months after Katrina).”

Intermodal linehaul rates in January were 7.8% higher than January of last year, according to the Cass Intermodal Linehaul Index. Month to month, costs rose 2.7% from December – a big jump compared to the average December-to-January change of 0.2%.
While the rise in truckload rates may have been event-driven (Sandy), the increase in intermodal rates is likely due to near-record shipment volumes. Demand for intermodal is expected to continue to grow in 2013, possibly outpacing the growth in supply.