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Cass freight index up in February despite weather

Cass said shipment volume rose 7.3 percent from January.

The Trucker News Services

3/11/2014

ST. LOUIS — Despite continued weather problems, North American shipment volume and freight spending both soared in February 2014, according to data provided by Cass Transportation Index.

The number of shipments, in particular, followed the pattern observed for the past several years by reversing the January decline, the Cass report said, noting that freight expenditures, while higher than January, showed the weakest January to February rise since 2010.

Cass said shipment volume rose 7.3 percent from January. Compared to last year, however, the number of shipments was down 0.4 percent. Railroad carloads declined early in February, but recovered in the second half of the month. Total carloads were the highest since November. Intermodal loadings also declined two weeks out of four during February, but ended the month 5.0 percent higher than January (also the best showing since November).

Cass said total expenditures on freight in February reversed a two-month decline with an increase of 6.8 percent. The expenditures index was up 6.4 percent from this time last year, 15.8 percent from February 2011, and was the highest February in the Cass index history. Expenditures have grown at a faster rate than shipment volume, and the economy has yet to feel the rate increases that should be coming later this year when capacity tightens and carriers take back the reigns for rate control.

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