Shipments in North America dropped by 2.3 percent from June to July, but freight expenditures rose by nearly 1 percent, according to the Cass Freight Index Report.
Compared to July 2012, shipments fell by 3.1 percent, but expenditures showed a 3.8 percent gain. June and July shipment volumes have been lower than volumes in the same months for the past two years. So far this year, shipments are up 3.4 percent, outpacing 2012 results, but shipments had been up by 5.8 percent through June.
The dropoff in shipments is indicative of seasonal trends, according to Cass. Railroads saw the biggest decreases, taking a 2.5 percent intermodal drop and a 3.6 percent fall in carloadings, and Cass puts the blame with poor import and export performance. Trucking capacity showed a bit of tightness, but not enough to be attributed to the hours of service changes.
Truck transportation is the main reason for an expenditure increase, as higher driver costs, tighter capacity and a greater cost for equipment is keeping rates high. - Jon Ross