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March 7, 2014 2:00 PM, EST
Cass Freight Index Declines in February
Larry Smith/TransPix

The Cass Freight Index, a measure of shipping activity in trucking and other transportation modes, dropped in February while expenditures rose, Cass Information Systems said.

Shipping fell 0.4% in February from the year before but increased 7.3% from January, Cass said.

“Despite continued weather problems, North American shipment volume and freight spending both soared in February 2014,” Cass said in its March 7 report. “The number of shipments, in particular, followed the pattern we have observed for the past several years by reversing the January decline.”

Freight expenditures increased 6.4% in January from last year and rose 6.8% month-over-month.

Although freight expenditures increased from January, it was the weakest January-to-February rise since 2010, Cass said.

“Trucking capacity is at exactly the right level for the volume of freight we have today, but will quickly be inadequate later this year if the predictions of a robust 2014 materialize,” Cass said. “Obtaining credit to purchase new vehicles will become tighter, probably squeezing out smaller and marginal trucking companies that don’t have the capital to expand their fleet, or almost as important, modernize their fleets. Continue to expect a bumpy ride.”