Financial services giant US Bank formally launched today a quarterly index of U.S. freight activity based on information submitted by companies that use the bank to process and audit their freight payments.
The index, which will debut next month with third-quarter activity, will analyze trends nationally and across five U.S. regions, according to Bobby Holland, director of consulting services for the Minneapolis-based bank's freight payment division. US Bank processes about $22 billion in freight bills annually.
Each report will be accompanied by analysis from Bob Costello, chief economist for the American Trucking Associations (ATA), US Bank said.
St. Louis-based Cass Information Systems Inc. has long published monthly indexes of transport activity based on Cass' analysis of the $22 billion in freight bills it processes and audits. US Bank said its index is designed to provide the marketplace with another perspective to the Cass indexes.
The US Bank announcement is part of a strategy to deepen relationships with shippers and carriers. The bank is looking to extend into key performance indicator (KPI) analysis, benchmarking, and freight payment optimization, among other potential services, according to Holland.
US Bank has been involved in the transport and logistics space for some time, yet the perception exists that the field falls outside of its traditional line of work, according to Holland. "People still see us as a bank," he said during an interview today at the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals' (CSCMP's) 2017 EDGE annual conference in Atlanta. The index, he said, is a catalyst to help change that mindset, he said.