Monday, October 10, 2011

Cass Freight Index Highest Since November 2007

I've only reported a few times before on the Cass Freight Index, so here's some background:

Starting in 1990, Cass Information Systems has calculated a monthly broad-based freight index for North America shipping activity based on the freight transactions it processes for 350 large shippers in a wide variety of industries, and the index is widely used by industry analysts and economists as an accurate barometer of North American shipping and economic trends. The diversity of shippers and aggregate volume provide a statistically valid representation of North American shipping activity.

The index was recently updated for September, and the Cass Freight Index was close to a four-year high, with more  shipments in September than in any single month since November 2007, the month before the recession started and right before the freight index plunged to the lowest level in its 20-year history (see chart above).  Compared to last year, shipping volume improved in September of this year by 7.5%, and also showed a strong 5% gain compared to the previous month of August.   

Now that U.S. intermodal rail shipments through September are back to pre-recession levels, and the Cass Freight Index in September is also back to pre-recession levels for broader-based shipping activity, these strong and ongoing shipping improvements would seem to defy the case for an economic downturn or double-dip recession.


At 10/10/2011 4:22 PM, Blogger McKibbinUSA said...

Ironically, the greater the shipping activity, the greater the US trade deficit -- what say yee...?

At 10/10/2011 6:09 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

WJM: "Ironically, the greater the shipping activity, the greater the US trade deficit -- what say yee...?"

We sayeth "so what"?

Just don't support consumption by borrowing.

At 10/10/2011 6:38 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 10/10/2011 6:39 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Dr William J McKibbin, you may need to use hypnosis on Dr Perry.

At 10/10/2011 7:27 PM, Blogger Craig Howard said...

Ironically, the greater the shipping activity, the greater the US trade deficit -- what say yee...?

I sayeth that it's actually the other way around, but it still doesn't matter. The trade deficit is a symptom of our economic problems, not the cause.

At 10/10/2011 8:42 PM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

Ron H states:

"Just don't support consumption by borrowing."

Yes, I sayeth.

At 10/11/2011 8:27 AM, Blogger Michael Hoff said...

Just wondering if the uptick shows a change in shipping methods rather than a big bump in the number of items being shipped? Are companies going the cheaper route of shipping, rail vs. truck, in order to cut costs? Just curious.

At 10/11/2011 9:01 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

seems to me that this number is flat with 1998.

in that time, population is up over 11%.

that has to be a major driver of freight volume.

adjust this for population growth, and it looks a great deal less impressive. per capita, we are roughly 12% below 1998 levels.

At 10/12/2011 9:58 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Another view:

A Contradiction in the Cargo


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