The Cass Freight Index of shipments moved primarily by truck hit the highest level in nearly two years last month, increasing 5.5% over April 2013.
The report by the affiliate of a St. Louis bank is based on more than $20 billion worth of freight bills processed annually from railroads, airfreight and barge freight as well as trucking.
The index rose 1.5% above March, when freight shipments surged as winter weather receded.
The report also said that freight spending increased 10% over April 2013, hitting the highest level in 15 years. Sequentially, freight spending rose 2.8%.
“Although the performance of the economy overall was very weak, freight has continued to gain momentum, indicating that the second quarter should be stronger,” the report said. “Although the second quarter started with continued growth, most of the backlog related to winter weather has been cleared out, and it appears that the early run of strong growth in freight will moderate in the second quarter.”