Monday, February 15, 2010

Cass Freight Index - Where Do We Stand Now?

The Cass Freight Index is the benchmark as to what is going on in the transportation industry. To make the Cass Freight Index simple, it basically uses January 1990 as the benchmark, or a value of 1.00. The index measures overall freight activity.

January saw a light drop in both expenditures for freight and also the number of shipments. Historically, however, January normally does drop off. The important item is that the overall January year over year comparison shows that the freight index was up 5.6%.

According to Modern Materials Handling, here are some other freight indicators:

* US trade deficit for December 2009 was at its highest level in a year at $40.2 billion - exports were at $182.9 billion;

* The US Commerce Department announced US factory orders rose 1% in December for its eighth gain in 9 months;

* The Institute of Supply Mangement's Manufacturing Index hit 58.4 in January, the fifth straight month indicating expansion. A value of 50 indicates zero growth.

* The Port Tracker report from the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates indicates that import cargo volume at US containers ports could be up by 25% year over year for the first half of 2010.

Overall, there are a few mixed signals, but growth is occuring in many of the indicators.

Photo courtesy of Rafael Vila, Auburndale, FL.


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