The May Cass Freight Index is out and it is clear that rates are staying flat and volumes are a bit behind where they were last year. Despite never missing an opportunity to say "Hours of Service (HOS) in July will cause rates to go up" the industry is starting to see the interesting phenomenon that the economy can have positive GDP rates yet freight volumes do not increase enough to put pressure on rates.
I have discussed this a lot and will not rehash it but you can read my theories on why this is occurring. The Cass report also commented on the large increase in Crude by Rail which I had commented on here earlier.
At the end of the day the story is remaining the same: Yes, truck capacity is leaving the market AND yes demand has decreased due to other situations with size of product, product being shipped, lean inventories and other types of actions.
Impact for Shippers: My advice remains the same: Do not succumb to the industry fear of a doomsday coming in capacity. Take a look at your individual situation with type of freight, volumes and lanes and make a decision on your strategy based on that. The data is suggesting a balanced industry with rates staying flat and unfortunately a slowing economy.