Q3 US Bank Freight Payment Index stays relatively flat versus Q2

The US Bank Freight Payment Index, a quarterly analysis of freight shipment volumes and spend by organisations shipping goods, revealed fairly flat national shipment and spend indexes for the third quarter of 2019 as compared to the prior quarter.

Against an economic backdrop which suggested both indexes might be down, the data indicated shipments increasing, and spend slowing down, slightly. Third quarter results are not consistent with some predictions that an economic recession is around the bend.

Compared to a solid second quarter, the U.S. Bank National Shipment and Spend Indexes were mostly flat during Q3. Retail sales accelerated from the second quarter, helping support shipments from July through September.

“The third quarter U.S. Bank Freight Payment Index aligns with much of the other data we’ve seen,” said Bob Costello, senior vice president and chief economist for the American Trucking Associations. “However, it was interesting to see the divergence of freight types and freight markets despite the relatively flat spend and shipment indexes compared to Q2. For example, for-hire truckload contract freight volumes outperformed less-than-truckload volumes, and within the truckload market specifically, contract freight performed better than did spot volume activity.”

“The significant rise in the freight spend volume compared to the third quarter of 2018 is good news leading into the 2019 holiday season,” said Bobby Holland, US Bank vice president and director of Freight Data Solutions. “But we remain cautious with our level of optimism.”