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Shipping volumes increase in August, Cass Index finds

Shipping volumes increased as expected, stated the August Cass Freight Index Report, crediting recent increases in manufacturing orders, imports and exports.

The Trucker News Services

9/6/2013

August shipment volumes rose 1.7 percent last month from July, giving strength to the prediction that there will still be a peak holiday shipping season, even if it’s only a slight bump up, Cass Information Systems reported Thursday.

After increasing for three consecutive months, North American freight expenditures declined in August.

Shipping volumes increased as expected, stated the August Cass Freight Index Report, crediting recent increases in manufacturing orders, imports and exports.

The American Trucking Associations’ truck tonnage index fell in July but the not seasonally adjusted index actually rose 3 percent, according to the latest figures available.

August shipments, the Index noted, were still lower than in the same month in both 2011 and 2012, but the gap has narrowed.

On a cumulative basis the number of shipments has risen 5.1 percent since the beginning of the year.

August freight spending fell 1.4 percent compared with July and capacity issues related to the newly enforced Hours of Service rules have been minimal so far, the Index reported, with not much pressure on truck rates.

And there is enough capacity in the entire freight market to hold rates steady, the report found.

However, the report noted that trucking “is still in a precarious balance, with over 95 percent capacity utilization and an abundance of regulatory and cost pressures that indicate a looming capacity problem.”

The less-than-truckload segment has had more pricing control but not gained much traction, either, the reported added.

Last month’s economic reports “indicated the economy might be sparking but probably for only a short run,” the report predicted, with much of the rise in GDP attributed to strong exports and not believed sustainable for the rest of the year.

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JB Hunt