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Truckload rates are highest since 2005

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By: Phil Sneed

TANDEM LOGISTICS NEWS FEED (11/17/2011): Truckload carriers in October commanded prices for their services not seen since January 2005, according to an index published by one of the nation’s leading freight audit and payment firms.

Cass Information Systems Inc., which audits and pays $17 billion a year in freight invoices on behalf of its customers, said its Truckload Linehaul Index reached a value of 108.8 in October, up 9.8 percent over the same month last year and the highest level since the start of tracking the data nearly seven years ago. The index only analyzes the linehaul component of truckload rates and excludes components like fuel surcharges and accessorial fees. As a result, the index is an accurate reflection of trends in per-mile truckload pricing, independent of other elements.

“The trajectory of the index reaffirms that capacity remains tight and carriers are being more disciplined regarding pricing and capacity additions in this cycle,” according to the report, which was published in conjunction with investment firm Avondale Partners LLC.

This is the first time Cass and Avondale have published an index tracking per-mile truckload pricing, although they have been keeping data since the start of 2005.

The findings put hard data behind a growing body of anecdotal evidence of a continued escalation in truckload rates, fueled by capacity reductions, driver shortages, a pickup in freight demand, and decisions by carriers to boost yield by shedding unprofitable or marginally profitable business.