Truckload linehaul rates appear to be stabilizing while intermodal rates continue moving higher but at a slower pace, according to two new reports.

The Cass Truckload Linehaul Index increased 1.5% in June compared to the same time a year ago, hitting a level of 123. This marks the third straight month of year-over-year gains following downturns for 13 consecutive months.

The June performance was up only 0.2% from the month before while the May level declined 1.5% from April.

Analyst Donald Broughton of Broughton Capital has revised his pricing forecast for this year from a range of a 1% decline to a 2% gain to a slightly better level of no improvement to a 2% increase as the current strength being reported in spot rates is leading him to believe contract pricing rates should keep rates in positive territory through the end of the year.

The Cass Truckload Linehaul Index measures market fluctuations in per-mile truckload pricing that isolates the linehaul component of full truckload costs from others, such as fuel and accessorials, providing a reflection of trends in baseline truckload prices.

Meantime, the Cass Intermodal Price Index rose 1.8% in June from the same time a year ago to 123.3 following May's 2.2% increase and hitting its lowest level since August 2016.

This marked the ninth consecutive month of increases, however, pricing momentum has slowed with the measure falling for month-over-month for the third straight time.

“As the price of oil has recovered from the oversold lows of February 2016 and established a price more consistent with the marginal cost of production from domestic sources, said he expects intermodal rates to show better strength in 2017 than were achieved in 2016.

“The current level of demand and pricing will produce a positive year-over-year comparison for the next 3 to 6 months,” he said.

The Cass Intermodal Price Index measures market fluctuations in per-mile U.S. domestic intermodal costs. It includes all costs associated with the move, such as linehaul, fuel and accessorials.

Data within both measures comes from actual freight invoices paid on behalf of clients of freight-payment processor Cass Information Services.

About the author
Evan Lockridge

Evan Lockridge

Former Business Contributing Editor

Trucking journalist since 1990, in the news business since early ‘80s.

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