After a one-month lull, a closely watched monthly index of freight expenditures and shipment activity rebounded in August, with one component reaching its highest level since September 2008, according to the firm that publishes the index.
The index, compiled by freight audit and payment firm Cass Information Systems Inc., is based on the freight expenditures and shipments that Cass processes on behalf of its clients. In August, the index of shipments came in at 1.095, while the expenditures index was reported at 1.97—the highest level recorded since September 2008, when it hit 2.02.
In 2010, the index had risen for five consecutive months until an unexpected decline in July, Cass said. Tom Zygmunt, who manages the index for Bridgeton, Mo.-based Cass, said that while the numbers indicate a steadiness in the shipping market, data for September and October will give him a keener insight into the index's long-term direction. Both are historically positive months for the index, Zygmunt said.
Zygmunt said he is unsure why the index would have declined in July after rising for five straight months.
Cass expects to process between $18 billion and $20 billion in freight bills this year for its clients. The high-water mark was 2008, when it processed $23 billion in freight bills.