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Cass Freight Index: Total July shipments dropped 2.3% from June

Freight expense for the first seven months of 2013, according to the report, is up 5.1 percent over the same period of 2012, and much of that increase comes from trucking. Increased costs of finding, recruiting and paying drivers have an upward impact on trucking freight rates.

By CLIFF ABBOTT
The Trucker Staff

8/12/2013

The transportation industry is still feeling the effects of the slow growth of the U.S. economy, according to the July Cass Freight Index Report, released by Cass Information Systems.

Total July shipments dropped 2.3 percent from June, according to the report, and 3.1 percent from July of 2012, according to the report.

At the same time, the report notes, July spending on transportation increased by 0.9 percent over June and is 3.8 percent ahead of numbers from July a year earlier. More money spent on fewer shipments indicates a tightening of capacity, expected in the trucking industry due to July 1 implementation of new Hours of Service requirements as well as an ongoing shortage of qualified drivers.

For the first seven months of 2013, shipment volume is up 3.4 percent over the same period of 2012, but only two of the seven months have been better than their 2012 counterparts. In July, forms of transportation other than trucking took the worst of the declines, with rail carloads and intermodal shipments falling the hardest.

Trucking has held steady, if nearly stagnant, in shipment numbers.

Freight expense for the first seven months of 2013, according to the report, is up 5.1 percent over the same period of 2012, and much of that increase comes from trucking. Increased costs of finding, recruiting and paying drivers have an upward impact on trucking freight rates.

Tightened capacity also allows carriers to ask more for transportation services, since shippers are willing to pay more to offset the increased demand for available trailers.

The Cass report concludes with a general economic picture, noting that the GDP grew in the second quarter even as housing start numbers took a turn for the worse. As expected, slow economic growth is causing reluctance to add additional trucks and trailers, keeping capacity tight and rates rising slowly. 

The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at editor@thetrucker.com.

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