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An Uneven Freight Market Shows Signs of Flattening

October 20, 2020

 

Over the last several months we have witnessed outbound tender volumes that are extremely high compared to last year and outbound tender rejection rates equally astounding. Why then, are overall U.S. freight volumes down 3% year-over-year? 

 

Some segments of the market that account for a large percentage of America's freight have been hit hard by the pandemic, like industrial and manufacturing. Others, like retail and consumer packaged goods, have increased by 10% year-over-year. Even within the retail and consumer goods markets freight volume is uneven on specific lanes. This imbalance is important to watch and will help us predict what the market will do in the future. Right now, it is the fast-moving consumer items and a decline in truck driver employment that are keeping capacity tight.  

 

Warehouses are fully stocked for the holidays after a heavy influx of imports over the last few months. Analysts expect the season to arrive earlier and last longer this year with retail giants like Walmart, Target and Amazon offering pre-holiday online incentives. Consumer confidence is good and retail spending is up 8% year-over-year (excluding auto), according to Bank of America's consumer data report. 

Weekly market updates help you identify areas where freight capacity is tight as well as areas that are loose and easier to cover. This helps you better understand the market and provides a basis for your pricing.

 

How are Consumers Spending Their Money?

Below is a snapshot of what people are spending money on in the first week of October, as compared to last year, according to Bank of America credit card data. Consumer spending is related to truck volumes and can be an indication of a growing or waning freight market. 

 

Of note, restaurant and bar spending has made a huge turn around and is only down 7% year-over-year. Brick and mortar (B&M) spending too has made a surpising comeback at just 4% behind last year at this time.  

How are Consumers spending money

Rates

Nationally rates are up 26.5% compared to last year, but are down from 1.5% over the last several weeks. The traditional peak season begins the first week of November and rates are expected to remain higher than normal with capacity very tight in certain areas.

National Outbound Lead Times

Below is a graph showing outbound tender lead times for both reefer and van truckload freight in the United States. The lead time for reefers has slightly decreased to 3.887 days from last week's 4.057 days. The van lead time has stayed relatively the same at 2.52 days versus 2.57. Shippers should give as much lead time as possible to get the best rates. (Graph courtesy of Freightwaves/SONAR)

Lead Times 10 20

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"Our advanced analytics is changing how we make decisions, from who to call first to how we think about the future.” - Director of Data Science & Analytics, Choptank Transport

 

Spot Market Rates & Volume 

Rates only dipped slightly last week for van and reefer as demand inches downward, although rates stayed the same for flatbed freight. Remember it was just two weeks ago when we saw continued increases in both loads posted and rates. Overall the current trend seems to be a flattening. (Below stats from October 12-18)

Overall Spot load posts are down -2.8% w/w, but still up +11.4% m/m

Dry van: Load-to-truck ratio is flat 0.0% w/w, up 2.6% m/m and up 126.2% from 2019.

Dry Van Spot Rates: Rates are up 1.5% w/w, up 6.9% m/m, and up 28.7% y/y

Reefer: Load-to-Truck ratio is down -4% w/w, up 3.9% m/m, and up 116.3% y/y.

Reefer Spot Rates: Rates are up by 0.6% w/w, up 5.4% m/m, and up 19.0% y/y.

Fuel prices have increased slightly at 0.3%

spot ratesoct20

Examples of Market Volatility

Below are several markets listed with varying degrees of volatility for outbound volume and rejection rates as of yesterday. 

Strong Decreases in Volume and Rejections

Here are some markets where we noted some strong decreases in rejection rates yesterday.

Harrisburg, PA: down -13.84% in volume, -6.79% in rejections

Hartford, CT : down -12.83% in rejections

San Francisco: down -17.77% in volume, -1.81% in rejections

Pittsburgh, PA: down -9.79 in volume, -5.01% in rejections

Louisville, KY: down -17.38% in volume, down -8.70% in rejections

Buffalo, NY:  down -15.10% in volume, down -7.53% in rejections

Boston, MA: down -19.59% in volume, down -15.68% in rejections

(Charts below courtesy of Freightwaves Sonar)

National Outbound Tender Rejections & Volumes

As we enter the fourth quarter, national rejection rates were down 5% last week from the week before, showing some market stabilization. A few of the major markets are showing less volatility and slowing down, but the pace of decline is not that great and capacity remains tight.

 

Last week marked the sixth week in a row and the longest time frame that the OTRI index has remained above 25% in its three-year history. But, van and reefer rejection rates are both showing a slight downward slide in these larger markets. Conversely, while rejections are cooling off in major hubs, some of the smaller markets are experiencing higher rejection rates. 

  • National OTRI for VANS = 24%
  • National OTRI for REEFERS = 43%

The graph below shows a slight decrease in volume over the last few weeks (blue), winding up at 15223 versus 15424 last week. 2019 data is shown in orange and 2018 in green. The bottom graph shows the outbound tender reject indices over the last six months. It also has decreased from 26.26 to this week at 24.42.

OTVI 10 20

OTRI 10 20

Capacity This Week

Dark red and pink areas (hot spots!) on the map show where capacity is tightening. As you can see from the map below, capacity has loosened in some of the major markets throughout the U.S. Rates in the darker red areas will be higher than in blue areas of the map where capacity is looser.

 

Tight reefer markets include the Southwest, Idaho and New Jersey, to name a few. The bottom map clearly shows that dry van capacity is especially tight in areas of Southern California, New Mexico, and eastern Wisconsin.

 

Midwest shipping is gaining strength and there is high demand in western New York for apples and cabbage. Idaho is still shipping potatoes and Washington is seeing an increase in nursery stock shipments.              . 

Note: Top Map is reefer capacity, bottom map is dry van.

(Maps courtesy of DAT Market Conditions)

Reefer 10 20

Van 10 20

 

Watch for Opportunities in the Market 
& Extend Lead Times - October 13, 2020

Last week's market brief talked about the strong freight market and what that means for shippers. As a follow up, the Choptank blog last Friday offered some expert advice on how to deal with the current issues surrounding rising rates and short capacity. If you missed it, you can read it here.

 

This week's outbound tender volumes remain elevated while outbound tender lead times stretch out to 4.06 days for reefer freight and 2.57 days for dry van. (See chart below - blue line is reefer and orange is van.) Shippers should try to extend their lead times as much as possible. Also, keep an eye on the market in the areas where you ship. Look for changes in rejection rates that may provide an opportunity to get better rates. If you don't have access to this information, check with your Choptank sales representative for assistance. 

 

Looking at the port index, retail trade is up 41.8% from the prior week, as well as durable goods at +23%, distribution services at +8.3%,  and manufacturing up 13%. These are all indicators that the economy is doing well and strengthening. We see no downturn in the foreseeable freight market so the expectation is that volumes will remain high and capacity under pressure. 

 

On the employment front, the service sector saw its first gain in seven months. That means more hospitality and restaurant jobs are being created from relaxed COVID-19 restrictions in many areas. This bodes well for e-commerce sales leading up to the holidays which will trickle down to a continued strain on capacity.  

Weekly market updates help you identify areas where freight capacity is tight as well as areas that are loose and easier to cover. This helps you better understand the market and provides a basis for your pricing.

Reefer & Van Outbound Tender Lead Times

The graph below shows reefer lead times in blue and van in orange over the last 60 days.

OTLT

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"Our advanced analytics is changing how we make decisions, from who to call first to how we think about the future.” - Director of Data Science & Analytics, Choptank Transport

Spot Market Rates & Volume 

Rates only increased slightly last week even though the demand for trucks decreased, unlike the week before where we saw an increase in both loads posted and rates. (Below stats from October 5-11)

Overall Spot load posts are down -10.3% w/w, but still up +11.4% m/m

Dry van: Load-to-truck ratio is down -23.2% w/w, up 2.8% m/m and down -6.2% from 2019.

Dry Van Spot Rates: Rates are up 1.4% w/w, up 6.9% m/m, and up 28.7% y/y

Reefer: Load-to-Truck ratio is down -18% w/w, up 3.9% m/m, and up 116.3% y/y.

Reefer Spot Rates: Rates are up by 0.9% w/w, up 5.4% m/m, and up 19.0% y/y.

Fuel prices have declined slightly at -0.3%

spotrates1013

Examples of Market Volatility

The chart below shows a snapshot of several markets with varying degrees of volatility for outbound volume, rejection rates, headhaul and lead time. 

(Chart below courtesy of Freightwaves Sonar)

Volatile Markets 10 12

Strong Decrease in Rejection Rates in these Areas

Here are some markets where we noted some strong decreases in rejection rates yesterday. 

Dallas, TX - 4.03% strong decrease in rejection rates

Joliet, IL - 2.06% strong decrease in rejections rates

Minneapolis, MN - 6.55% strong decrease in rejection rates

Winchester, VA - 4.52% strong decrease in rejection rates

Richmond, VA - 8.59% strong decrease in rejection rates

Shreveport, LA - 8.71% strong decrease in rejection rates

Jackson, MS -11.94% strong decrease in rejection rates

Outbound Tender Volume and Rejection Indices

The top graph shows a striking increase in volume over six months in the United States (blue) compared to 2019 (orange) and 2018 (green). The bottom graph shows the outbound tender reject indices YTD for the last three years. We all remember when rejections soared in 2018... looks like we are back to similar conditions. (Charts below courtesy of Freightwaves Sonar)

OTVI Oct 13

OTRI YTD 10 13

Capacity This Week

Dark red and pink areas (hot spots!) on the map show where capacity is tightening. As you can see from the map below, yesterday tight reefer markets were still prevalent in many states throughout the U.S. Rates in these areas will be higher than in blue areas of the map where capacity is loose. Tight  reefer markets include Idaho, New Mexico, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Texas, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, to name a few. 

The bottom map clearly shows that dry van capacity is especially tight in areas of Ohio, Arkansas, Virginia, Wisconsin, Illinois, Pennsylvania, the Carolinas and Southern California. 

Note: Top Map is reefer capacity, bottom map is dry van.

(Maps courtesy of DAT Market Conditions)

Reefer Market Conditions 10 13

Vans Market Conditions 10 13

dhl-pricing-10-12

Who's Got the Power?

The needle moves back up once again favoring the carriers at the 85 mark, meaning rates are even higher than last week. Strong market conditions continue to put carriers in a very strong position for negotiations. 

The pricing power index is a weekly gauge put out by DHL that indicates who has more sway in negotiations when it comes to pricing and freight rates. The farther the needle leans to the left of the gauge, the more power the shipper has in negotiation. The farther to the right, the carrier has the upper hand. 

A Strong Freight Market and What it Means for Shippers - October 6, 2020

A "strong" freight market means the industry is experiencing extremely high shipping volumes. Normally that is a sign of a burgeoning economy and should be good news for shippers, however, there is a thorn in the side of the current situation--the same thorn that bedeviled the industry in 2018. I am talking about the growing capacity shortage. Demand has far outgrown the truck supply and contract and spot rates are out of wack. (Read our upcoming blog on Thursday with some first-hand advice from our seasoned logistics professionals.)

 

These heavy volumes are predicted to continue throughout the fourth quarter, but there are no guarantees. The expectation that consumer sentiment will remain positive may be influenced by American's perception of the pandemic and how well they think it is under control. Another factor could be unemployment, which appears to be  recovering, but if it starts to climb again with new winter Covid closures, that could translate into less consumer spending and less demand for goods. (See chart below.)  

Weekly market updates help you identify areas where freight capacity is tight as well as areas that are loose and easier to cover. This helps you better understand the market and provides a basis for your pricing.

Jobless Claims

Spot Market Rates & Volume 

The end of last week rejection rates for reefer freight were especially high across the Midwest, stretching from Arkansas to North Dakota. Indianapolis reefer rejection rates were topping over 50% and Salt Lake City experienced its tightest reefer capacity of the year. 

This week van rates hit an all-time high, beating out June of 2018 when rats topped at $2.32 in September. 

Overall Spot load posts are up +5.0% w/w, but still up +11.4% m/m

Dry van: Load-to-truck ratio is up 4.6% w/w, up 2.6% m/m and 126.2% from 2019.

Dry Van Spot Rates: Rates are up 3.2% w/w, up 7.2% m/m, and up 29.1% y/y

Reefer: Load-to-Truck ratio is up 16.8% w/w, up 3.9% m/m, and up 116.3% y/y.

Reefer Spot Rates: Rates are up by 1.8% w/w, up 5.5% m/m, and up 19.2% y/y.

Fuel prices have declined slightly at -0.4%

spotrates106

Top Eight Markets - Volume & Rejection Rate Change

(Chart courtesy of Freightwaves Sonar)

Sonar Volatility

Strong Decrease in Rejection Rates in these Areas

Rejection rates are not increasing everywhere. Here are some smaller markets where we are seeing strong decreases in rejection rates. 

New Orleans, LA - 5.29% strong decrease in rejection rates

Green Bay, WI - 6.55% strong decrease in rejections rates

Buffalo, NY - 5.25% strong decrease in rejection rates

Chatanooga, TN - 3.53% decrease in rejection rates

Syracuse, NY - 5.54% strong decrease in rejection rates

Ft. Wayne, IN - 7.56% strong decrease in rejection rates

(Chart courtesy of Freightwaves Sonar)

OTVI 10 5

OTRI 10 5

Capacity This Week

Dark red and pink areas (hot spots!) on the map show where capacity is tightening. As you can see from the map below, yesterday tight reefer markets were still prevalent in many states throughout the U.S. Rates in these areas will be higher than in blue areas of the map where capacity is loose.

 

The bottom map clearly shows that dry van capacity is especially tight along some of the border states and in the eastern half of the country, driving rates to an all-time high. 

Note: Top Map is reefer capacity, bottom map is dry van.

(Maps courtesy of DAT Market Conditions)

Reefer 10 6

VAN 10 6

pricingpower105

Who's Got the Power?

After weeks of being stuck at 85, last week the DHL Power Pricing index needle moved back to 80 where it is temporarily hovering. This continues to put carriers in a very strong position for negotiations and rates are expected to remain higher than normal.

 

The pricing power index is a weekly gauge of who has more sway in negotiations when it comes to pricing and freight rates. The farther the needle leans to the left of the gauge, the more power the shipper has in negotiation. The farther to the right, the carrier has the upper hand. 

Have a Question? Ask one of our Experts

Do you have specific questions about the freight market in your area? Don't hesitate to ask us. Your sales representative or one of our professional logistics team is ready to help, so give us a call! 800.568.2240, option #2.


Tight Reefer Capacity Throughout the Country - Sept 29, 2020

October is a pivotal month to watch since it can be an indicator of a strengthening or weakening market for the fourth quarter. In 2018, October volumes were subtly higher at the end of the month than in the beginning, however in 2019, volumes lost steam throughout the month, ending a bit lower than the month started. As crazily unpredictable as this year has been with disruptions caused by COVID-19, major changes in consumer's buying habits, and multiple weather and fire events, it is unclear what "peak" season will look like.

 

Most notable, of course, is the persistent increase in volume over the last two years. Late September 2020 volumes are rising again as shown in the Outbound Tender Volume Index chart below, as are the Outbound Tender Rejections. (See the tight reefer capacity map at the bottom of this email.) It will be interesting to see if the market follows historical trends and levels off in early October before ramping back up into the last two months of the year. 

 

Weekly market updates help you identify areas where freight capacity is tight as well as areas that are loose and easier to cover. This helps you better understand the market and provides a basis for your pricing.

Spot Market Rates & Volume  

According to DAT, load posts on the spot market are leveling off but the rates are still inching up. Flatbed rates are surging at +6.1% over last week, +9.6% over last month and +165.1% year over year. The graphic below shows a weekly view of the month-to-date national average spot rates from DAT from Septembr 21 through September 27, 2020.

 

Overall Spot load posts are up +0.2% w/w, but still up +9.8% m/m

Dry van: Load-to-truck ratio is up 1.7% w/w, up 20.8% m/m and 135.4% from 2019.

Dry Van Spot Rates: Rates are up 2.4% w/w, up 8.9% m/m, and up 22.1% y/y

Reefer: Load-to-Truck ratio is down 1.9% w/w, up 26.4% m/m, and up 108.3% y/y.

Reefer Spot Rates: Rates are up by 0.4% w/w, up 6.0% m/m, and up 13.8% y/y.

Fuel prices have declined slightly at 0.7%

spot ratessep29

Who's Got the Power?

The needle has moved! After weeks of being stuck at 85, due to a dip in tender rejections last week, the DHL Power Pricing index needle moved back to 80... for the time being that is.

 

That still puts the carriers in a very strong position for negotiations and rates are expected to remain higher than normal, although there are some pockets of the country where capacity is fluctuating. 

 

The pricing power index is a weekly gauge of who has more sway in negotiations when it comes to pricing and freight rates. The farther the needle leans to the left of the gauge, the more power the shipper has in negotiation. The farther to the right, the carrier has the upper hand. 

pricingpower928

Contract Market - Outbound Tender Volume & Rejection Rates  

The graphs below show activity for outbound tender volumes and outbound tender rejections from April through the end of the year. The OTVI graph on top has a blue line showing 2020 volumes and an orange line showing 2019. The green line shows 2018 activity.  The OTRI graph shows the typical dip over the Labor Day weekend, then a return, but then again a brief dip last week, It is trending back up this week, to a quarter of all contract shipments being rejected. The data is compiled from the heaviest shippers in the contract market.

Markets with largest increases in rejections:  

  • Indianapolis, IN 
  • Ontario, CA
  • Memphis, TN

Markets with strongest decreases in rejections:

  • Dallas, TX
  • Richmond, VA
    (Graphs below courtesy of Sonar/Freightwaves)
    OTVI 9 25OTRI 9 25

Capacity This Week

Dark red and pink areas (hot spots!) on the map show where capacity is tightening. As you can see from the map below, tight reefer markets are peppered throughout the United States like a good bowl of New England clam chowder. Rates in these areas will be higher than in blue areas of the map where capacity is loose. 

Note: Top Map is reefer capacity, bottom map is dry van.

(Maps courtesy of DAT Market Conditions)

Reefer capacity 9 29

dry van capacity 9 29-1

Strong Market, Strong Upward Pressure on Rates and Capacity Continues

Sept 22, 2020

 

Happy first day of Autumn!

A snapshot of this week's freight market shows widespread high freight volumes throughout the country and the continuation of high rates on the spot market. 

The national outbound tender volume index (OTVI) has leveled off some, but like outbound tender rejection rates, it is also high compared to last year... 50 percent higher than the last two years to be exact. There are no signs of volumes dropping significantly (which would need to happen before we see rejection rates and tight capacity pricing normalize). 

The national outbound tender rejection index (OTRI) seems to have hit a high note on September 9, 2020 at 26.68% and has been sliding back downward over the course of last week. But even so, rejection rates are still significantly higher year over year. One in every four loads is being rejected, according to Freightwaves. 

A look at ocean shipments gives us a glimpse into the sustainability of the strong market over the next few weeks. The charts below show the notable increase in volume coming into the ports year over year. The blue line on the bottom chart is this year and the orange dotted line is last year (LY).

Weekly market updates help you identify areas where freight capacity is tight as well as areas that are loose and easier to cover. This helps you better understand the market and provides a basis for your pricing.

 

Ports Y over Y

Ocean freight

Spot Market Rates & Volume  

According to DAT, "Spot market truckload rates are in their longest continuous rally in five years." The graphic below shows a weekly view of the month-to-date national average spot rates from DAT from Septembr 14 through September 20, 2020.

 

Overall Spot load posts are up 14.1%  w/w , but still up 9.8% m/m

Dry van: Load-to-truck ratio is down 1.9% w/w, up 20.8% m/m and 135.4% from 2019.

Dry Van Spot Rates: Rates are up 2.5% w/w, up 8.9% m/m, and up 22.1% y/y

Reefer: Load-to-Truck ratio is down 9.1% w/w, up 26.4% m/m, and up 108.3% y/y.

Reefer Spot Rates: Rates are up by 1.0% w/w, up 6.1% m/m, and up 13.8% y/y.

Fuel prices have declined slightly at 0.5%

spot ratessep22

Who's Got the Power?

Yes, the needle is stuck, at least for the time being. The DHL Power Pricing Index remains at 85 points. That means carriers are still in a very strong position for negotiations and rates are expected to remain higher than normal, although there are some pockets of the country where capacity is fluctuating. 

 

Freightwaves reported on Friday that some carriers are "holding capacity until the end of the day before auctioning it to the highest bidder."

 

The pricing power index is a weekly gauge of who has more sway in negotiations when it comes to pricing and freight rates. The farther the needle leans to the left of the gauge, the more power the shipper has in negotiation. The farther to the right, the carrier has the upper hand. 

pricing power 9-22

Contract Market - Outbound Tender Volume & Rejection Rates  

 

The graphs below show activity for outbound tender volumes and outbound tender rejections since the beginning of the year in the United States. The OTVI graph on top has a blue line showing 2020 volumes and an orange line showing 2019 activity.  The OTRI graph shows that almost a quarter of all contract shipments are being rejected. The data is compiled from the heaviest shippers in the contract market.

 

Markets with largest increases in rejections:  

  • Erie, PA   18.57%
  • Pittsburgh, PA   8.72
  • Pendleton, OR   8.50%
  • Eau Claire, WI    6.48%

Markets with strongest volume increases:

  • Erie, PA  110.49%
  • Ontario, CA 19.38%
  • Charleston, SC  57.08%
  • Syracuse, NY  30.37%
    (Graphs below courtesy of Sonar/Freightwaves)

otvi 9 22

otri 9 22

Capacity This Week

Dark red and pink areas (hot spots!) on the map show where capacity is tightening. Rates in these areas will be higher than in blue areas of the map where capacity is loose. 

Note: Top Map is reefer capacity, bottom map is dry van.

(Maps courtesy of DAT Market Conditions)

Reefer 9 22

Dry 9 22

 

The Seasons are Changing: Is the Market?

Sept 15, 2020

There are rumblings that the market may be turning towards a slight correction. On Friday we saw the first dip in tender rejection rates in weeks, but hold on, other indicators contradict that notion. 

 

With an election year and the possibility of another stimulus check, it is anybody's guess. Over the last several weeks, a lot of volume has come out of the West Coast, with carriers flocking to the best rates, leaving the East Coast suddenly high and dry. Tender rejections in California, Nevada and Arizona have flattened some while the Northeast is suffering from extremely tight capacity. Virginia to Maine had the highest rejection rates in the U.S. on Friday at 27%. Carriers, come back! 

 

Imports played a large role in outbound tender volumes this summer. We should keep an eye on what's coming into the ports over the next month and a half to see if the market has already hit peak volumes as previously predicted or if there is more on its way. 

 

Reefer rates are extremely high in some areas across the country and capacity is tighter that it was during the panic-buying in Mid-March. Reefer tenders are being rejected by carriers and 3PLs at 38%, according to Freightwaves. As an example, Monday's Lane Watch reported, "Heavy reefer freight volumes pushed the all-in rate per mile up to $5.46 on the Elkridge, Maryland to Hartford, Connecticut."

 

Weekly market updates help you identify areas where freight capacity is tight as well as areas that are loose and easier to cover. This helps you better understand the market and provides a basis for your pricing.

 

Spot Market Rates & Volume  

The graphic below shows a weekly view of the month-to-date national average spot rates from DAT from August 24 through August 30, 2020.

Overall Spot load posts are down 14.6%  w/w , but still up 9.8% m/m

Dry van: Load-to-truck ratio is down 8.5% w/w, up 20.8% m/m and 135.4% from 2019.

Dry Van Spot Rates: Rates are up 2.4% w/w, up 8.9% m/m, and up 22.2% y/y

Reefer: Load-to-Truck ratio is down 6.8% w/w, up 26.4% m/m, and up 108.3% y/y.

Reefer Spot Rates: Rates are up by 1.5% w/w, up 6.1% m/m, and up 13.9% y/y.

Fuel prices have declined slightly at 0.2%

 

spot ratessep15

Who's Got the Power?

Once again, no changes to the pricing power index. It remains at 85 points; the same as the last few weeks. That means carriers are still in a very strong position for negotiations and rates are expected to remain higher than normal, although as mentioned above, there are some pockets of the country where capacity has loosened and rates have come down.

 

The pricing power index is a weekly gauge of who has more sway in negotiations when it comes to pricing and freight rates. The farther the needle leans to the left of the gauge, the more power the shipper has in negotiation. The farther to the right, the carrier has the upper hand. 

Contract Market - Outbound Tender Volume & Rejection Rates 

 

We are still getting reports that more than a quarter of all truckload shipments being rejected. Reefer rejection rates, although still very high, took a slight dip from last week, now at 27.21 for dry vans. (See graphs below)

 

Markets with largest increases in rejections:  

  • Springfield, MA  4.45%
  • Boston, MA  8.65%
  • Richmond, VA  6.30%
  • Norfolk, VA  6.14%

Markets with strongest volume declines:

  • Columbus, OH  19.58%
  • Ontario, CA  17.84%
  • Dallas, TX  15.88%
  • Atlanta, GA  17.20%

Outbound tender rejections

The graphs below show activity for outbound tender volumes over six months in the United States compared to 2019. The outbound rejection rates chart has a blue line showing vans and the green line shows reefers and is a one-month view. The data is compiled from the heaviest shippers in the contract market.

(Graphs below courtesy of Sonar/Freightwaves)

 

OTVI annual

OTRI 9 14

Capacity This Week

Dark red areas (hot spots!) on the map show where capacity is tightening. Rates in these areas will be higher than in blue areas of the map where capacity is loose. As an example, reefer freight was experiencing its heaviest volumes on Monday in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and again in Southern California.

 

Dry van capacity on Monday has shifted to the East Coast in areas such as Virginia, Atlanta and Maryland. Southern California is still seeing some tight markets but the state as a whole has dialed back some on activity.

Note: Top Map is reefer capacity, bottom map is dry van. (Maps courtesy of DAT Market Conditions)

 

reefer 9 15

Van 9 15

 

Weekly Market Brief

September 8, 2020

Capacity Tight, Rates Remain Up

As the saying goes, what goes up must come down, but not just yet in the freight market. Capacity remains tight in the United States, declining to a 22-month low while rates are still moving upward. Truck pricing on the spot market reached a 19-month high last week. 

 

Spot rates have increased 30% year over year and with the holiday season just ahead, capacity is expected to remain tight throughout the end of 2020.

 

The import market is still pushing goods from the West Coast into the rest of the country in preparation for the holiday season. According to Freightwaves, the surge in volume of imports has peaked and we can now expect it to steadily decline until the end of the year. The numbers, however, are still significantly above September 2019 volumes (49%) and 2018 (23%). 

 

September is never a slow month for freight, even during a traditional year, but with the volatility of the market this year, shippers should try to book their freight as far in advance as possible. When contracted carriers fall off, shippers will be risking paying higher rates on the spot market. 

Weekly market updates help you identify areas where freight capacity is tight as well as areas that are loose and easier to cover. This helps you better understand the market and provides a basis for your pricing.

 

Spot Market Rates & Volume  

The graphic below shows a weekly view of the month-to-date national average spot rates from DAT from August 31 through Sept 6, 2020.

 

Overall Spot load posts are up +1.4% w/w , but up 9.8% m/m

Dry van: Load-to-truck ratio is up 1.6% w/w, up 20.8% m/m and 135.4% from 2019.

Dry Van Spot Rates: Rates are up 4.8% w/w, up 9.0% m/m, and up 22.3% y/y

Reefer: Load-to-Truck ratio is down -2.6% w/w, up 26.4% m/m, and up 108.3% y/y.

Reefer Spot Rates: Rates are up by 3.3% w/w, up 6.3% m/m, and up 14.0% y/y.

Fuel prices have not changed.

 

spot ratessep7

 

Spot Market Rates & Volume  

The graphic below shows a weekly view of the month-to-date national average spot rates from DAT from August 31 through Sept 6, 2020.

Overall Spot load posts are up +1.4% w/w , but up 9.8% m/m

Dry van: Load-to-truck ratio is up 1.6% w/w, up 20.8% m/m and 135.4% from 2019.

Dry Van Spot Rates: Rates are up 4.8% w/w, up 9.0% m/m, and up 22.3% y/y

Reefer: Load-to-Truck ratio is down -2.6% w/w, up 26.4% m/m, and up 108.3% y/y.

Reefer Spot Rates: Rates are up by 3.3% w/w, up 6.3% m/m, and up 14.0% y/y.

Fuel prices have not changed.

 

pricingpower9-7

Contract Market - Outbound Tender Volume & Rejection Rates 

 

The average U.S. van truckload rejection rate yesterday was at 26.95%. That is more than a quarter of all truckload shipments being rejected. Reefer rejection rates have soared even higher to an average of 38.79%. (See graphs below)

 

Markets with largest volume gains:  

  • Jacksonville, FL 22.59%
  • New Orleans, LA  22.47%
  • Madison, WI  32.33%
  • Charleston, WV  29.95%

Markets with largest volume declines:

  • Miami, FL  19.10%
  • Springfield, MA  27.82%
  • Lubbock, TX  13.45%
  • Mobile, AL  16.12%

Outbound tender rejections

The graphs below show activity for outbound tender volumes and outbound rejection rates year-to-date in the United States. The blue line shows vans and the green line shows reefers. The data is compiled from the heaviest shippers in the contract market.

(Graphs below courtesy of Sonar/Freightwaves)

OTVI van vs reefer

OTRI Van vs Reefer-1

 

Capacity This Week

Dark red areas (hot spots!) on the map show where capacity is tightening. Rates in these areas will be higher than in blue areas of the map where capacity is loose. As an example, reefer freight was experiencing its heaviest volumes on Monday in Idaho and the Mid-Atlantic states. 

 

Dry van capacity on Monday was tight in areas of Southern California and Houston, Texas where there has been a strong increase in headhaul activity (55.97%) with San Antonio, TX seeing an increase in rejection rates of 5.27%.

Note: Top Map is reefer capacity, bottom map is dry van. (Graphs below courtesy of DAT Market Conditions)

reefer capacity

van capacity

Have a Question? Ask one of our Experts

Do you have specific questions about the freight market in your area? Don't hesitate to ask us. Your sales representative or one of our professional logistics team is ready to help, so give us a call! 800.568.2240, option #2.

 

Weekly Market Brief

September 2, 2020

 

The Outbound Tender Rejection Index (OTRI) is holding steady at unprecedented high levels, affecting just about everyone in the industry. Shippers who have relied on contract rates are now finding that their 'secured' carriers are heading for greener pastures on the spot market where carrier rates are more favorable. 

 

Since May, 2020, the OTRI has surpassed even 2018 numbers when the bull market was in full swing, driving rates higher and further choking capacity.

 

Choptank's latest integration with Blue Yonder is helping combat some of this tight market. Choptank now can offer a dynamic price discovery solution to its pipeline of customers, providing an even larger carrier base for its shippers. 

 

READ THE ANNOUNCEMENT

 

And just a reminder, even when capacity isn't an issue shippers should consider booking their freight early with the upcoming International Road Check event, September 9-11, 2020. It is less than two weeks away. 

 

Weekly market updates help you identify areas where freight capacity is tight as well as areas that are loose and easier to cover. This helps you better understand the market and provides a basis for your pricing.


Spot Market Rates & Volume  

The graphic below shows a weekly view of the month-to-date national average spot rates from DAT from August 24 through August 30, 2020.

Overall Spot load posts are up +10.5% w/w , but up 14.6% m/m

Dry van: Load-to-truck ratio is up 10.4% w/w, up 25% m/m and 110.3% from 2019.

Dry Van Spot Rates: Rates are up 4.3% w/w, up 12.3% m/m, and up 10.4% y/y

Reefer: Load-to-Truck ratio is up 19.9% w/w, up 34.8% m/m, and up 102.1% y/y.

Reefer Spot Rates: Rates are up by 2.4% w/w, up 6.7% m/m, and up 5.1% y/y.

Fuel prices have not changed.

spot ratessep1

Who's Got the Power?

The pricing power index is holding steady at 85 points; the same as last week. Carriers remain in a very strong position for negotiations and rates are expected to remain higher than normal.

 

The pricing power index is a weekly gauge of who has more sway in negotiations when it comes to pricing and freight rates. The farther the needle leans to the left of the gauge, the more power the shipper has in negotiation. The farther to the right, the carrier has the upper hand.

pricingpower828

Contract Market - Outbound Tender Volume & Rejection Rates 

 

Volumes once again hit a record high last week. Like a steady rail car lineup, we have experienced week over week over week increases. The OTVI jumped up another 3.3% registering at 15,830 and reports show that one in every four loads on the contract market is being rejected. 

 

Markets with largest volume gains:  

  • Miami (17.90%)
  • Cleveland (12.98%)
  • Elizabeth, New Jersey (9.69%)

Markets with largest volume declines:

  • Laredo, Texas (-15.10%)
  • Ontario, California (-11.91%)
  • Savannah, Georgia (-8.43%)

Outbound tender rejections continue to dog shippers by being stubbornly elevated, increasing another 1% last week. According to rumblings at Freightwaves, when the market hits these industry ceilings, contract freight often finds itself back on the negotiation table resulting in higher rates, but with fewer rejections. The freight market always seems to find a way to realign itself... eventually.   

 

The graphs below show activity for outbound tender volumes and outbound rejection rates year-to-date in the United States. The data is compiled from the heaviest shippers in the contract market.

(Graphs below courtesy of Sonar/Freightwaves)

OTVI 831

OTRI 831

Capacity This Week

Dark red areas (hot spots!) on the map show where capacity is tightening. Rates in these areas will be higher than in blue areas of the map where capacity is loose. As an example, reefer freight was experiencing its heaviest volumes on Monday in Oregon, Northern California, Michigan and Wisconsin. Dry van capacity on Monday was tight in areas of New Mexico and Texas borders, Kansas, Virginia and parts of Illinois.

Note: Top Map is reefer capacity, bottom map is dry van. (Maps courtesy of DAT Market Conditions)

drycapacity 9 1vans 91

Weekly Market Brief

August 25, 2020

Storms and Roadchecks

Weather conditions looming off the coast of the United States may be a factor affecting the market this week. Marco was a bust, thank goodness, reaching a Category 1 hurricane status before hitting landfall, but then quickly dissipating into little more than some heavy rainfall and manageable wind conditions. Tropical Storm Laura, on the other hand, is only a few days behind Marco and is showing signs of being a bigger threat. Predicted to be a  Category 2 hurricane, it is expected to make landfall somewhere along the Texas-Louisiana coastline by Wednesday. If there is a lot of damage from the storm, it has the potential to pull capacity from the market for recovery and rebuilding efforts.  

 

Another possible strain on capacity could be the upcoming International Road Check, September 9-11, 2020. Even though it is a couple of weeks away, shippers should book their freight early. Carriers can be difficult to procure during the three-day, around-the-clock inspections. 

 

There are possible signs of the freight market beginning to stabilize. A dip in the outbound rejection rate index could be a hint of things to come even though volumes continue to rise, but not as much as in past weeks. 

Weekly market updates help you identify areas where freight capacity is tight as well as areas that are loose and easier to cover. This helps you better understand the market and provides a basis for your pricing.

TS-LAURA

Spot Market Rates & Volume  

On spot market reefer rates, DAT forecasting models estimate we may see up to a four cent increase according to their two-week overview of the outbound tender rejection index. Load posts, however, have shown a slight downturn, possibly indicating that we have hit the peak of produce season. As we have witnessed during this tumultuous freight year, just because capacity loosens, rates don't always follow suit. 

 

The average rejection rate is currently 30% for reefer freight although there are areas like Jacksonville, Florida and Savannah, Georgia where rejection rates fell. Other areas, such as Portland, Spokane and St. Cloud showed an increase in rejection rates. Buffalo, NY also is seeing spikes in tight capacity and high rejection rates.

 

The graphic below shows a weekly view of the month-to-date national average spot rates from DAT from August 17 through August 23, 2020.

Overall Spot load posts are up +9.0% w/w , but up 14.6% m/m

Dry van: Load-to-truck ratio is up 2.4% w/w, up 25% m/m and 110.3% from 2019.

Dry Van Spot Rates: Rates are up 2.6% w/w, up 12.2% m/m, and up 10.3% y/y

Reefer: Load-to-Truck ratio is up 7.9% w/w, up 34.8% m/m, and up 102.1% y/y.

Reefer Spot Rates: Rates are up by 2.0% w/w, up 6.7% m/m, and up 5.1% y/y.

Fuel prices have had no change.

spot ratesAUG25

Who's Got the Power?

It is hard to believe the needle has pushed another 5 points in favor of the carriers  for negotiating power on the DHL Power Pricing Index, despite seeing a brief decline in rejection rates last week. Apparently that was just a blip on the radar screen of much larger forces at work.  The pricing power index is a weekly gauge of who has more sway in negotiations when it comes to pricing and freight rates. The farther the needle leans to the left of the gauge, the more power the shipper has in negotiation. The farther to the right, the carrier has the upper hand. 

 

Carriers remain in a very strong position for negotiations and rates will remain on the high side for at least a few more weeks.

pricingpower824

Outbound Tender Volume & Rejection Rates 

The graphs below show the last month's activity for outbound tender volumes and outbound rejection rates in the United States. The data is compiled from the heaviest shippers in the contract market

 

Volumes continue to escalate, but look as if the are increasing at a slightly slower rate.  As a result, we still are experiencing compressed capacity in many areas of the country which continues to make carrier pricing higher than usual. 

 

Outbound tender rejections saw a brief dip recently but are staying above 24 going into the week. 

(Graphs below courtesy of Sonar/Freightwaves)

OTVI one month 8 25

 

OTRI one month 8 25

Capacity This Week

Dark red areas (hot spots!) on the map show where capacity is tightening. Rates in these areas will be higher than in blue areas of the map where capacity is loose. As an example, reefer freight was experiencing its heaviest volumes on Monday out of Idaho. Dry van capacity on Monday was tight in areas of Kansas, Texas border areas, and Pennsylvania to name a few. 

Note: Top Map is reefer capacity, bottom map is dry van. (Maps courtesy of DAT Market Conditions)

Reefer

dry van

Weekly Market Brief

August 18, 2020

In early July one industry headline stated, "Current Volume Level is Likely Unsustainable," but as we now know, it has been more than just sustainable. Freight volumes are still on an upward trajectory and surprising the experts week over week. As a result, capacity is under pressure and carrier pricing has been steadily rising. Volumes have surpassed both 2019 and 2018 at this time of year by between 20% - 25%.

 

According to data from Freightwaves, one in every five loads is being rejected, so don't be surprised this week if you continue to experience limited truck availability. With the holidays soon approaching, the typical slowdown this time of year may never happen. 

Weekly market updates help you identify areas where freight capacity is tight as well as areas that are loose and easier to cover. This helps you better understand the market and provides a basis for your pricing.

Spot Market Rates & Volume  

Below is a graph showing a weekly view of the month-to-date national average spot rates from DAT. 

Overall Spot load posts (Aug 10-Aug 16) are slightly down from last week at -2.6%, but up 14% from last month.

Dry van: Load-to-truck ratio is down -3.7% from last week, but up 25% from last month and up 110.3% from 2019.

Dry Van Spot Rates: Rates are up 2.6% from last week, up 12.2% from last month, and up 10.3% year over year

Reefer: Load-to-Truck ratio is down -4.5% from last week, up 34.8% from last month, and up 102.1%  year over year. 

Reefer Spot Rates: Rates are up by 0.4% from last week, up 6.7% from last month, and up 5.1% year over year.  

Fuel prices have risen 0.2% from last week. 

spot ratesAUG18

Who's Got the Power?

The pricing power index is a weekly gauge of who has more sway in negotiations when it comes to pricing and freight rates. The farther the needle leans to the left of the gauge, the more power the shipper has in negotiation. The farther to the right, the carrier has the upper hand. There is no change in the Pricing Power Index again this week despite a slight dip of several days last week in rejection rates, which are now back at levels high above March during the pandemic panic-buying phase.

 

Carriers remain in a very strong position for negotiations and rates will be high for at least the rest of the month, and possibly longer.

pricingpower

Outbound Tender Volume & Rejection Rates 

The graphs below show how extreme the current market conditions have become over the course of the last twelve months for outbound tender volumes and outbound rejection rates in the United States. The data is compiled from the heaviest shippers in the contract market

 

Volumes continue to escalate, defying the seasonal ups and downs we normally see this time of year.  As a result, we are experiencing compressed capacity which seems to grow concomitantly tighter and tighter. 

 

Outbound tender rejections saw a brief dip last week for four or five days, but went right back up to record-high levels on Monday, staying above 22 going into the week. This temporary hiccup was too fleeting to affect rates. 

(Graphs below courtesy of Sonar/Freightwaves)

OTVI 8 18

OTRI 8 18

Capacity This Week

Dark red areas (hot spots!) on the map show where capacity is tightening. Rates in these areas will be higher than in blue areas of the map where capacity is loose. As an example, reefer freight was experiencing its heaviest volumes on Monday out of Texas, Michigan and Tennessee areas, to name a few. Dry van capacity on Monday was tight in areas of Kansas, Oklahoma, Utah and Quebec. 

Note: Top Map is reefer capacity, bottom map is dry van. (Maps courtesy of DAT Market Conditions)

Capacity Map Reefer 8 18

Capacity Map Dry 8 18

Have a Question? Ask one of our Experts

Do you have specific questions about the freight market in your area? Don't hesitate to ask us. Your sales representative or one of our professional logistics team is ready to help, so give us a call! 800.568.2240, option #2.

Weekly Market Brief

August 11, 2020

The hurricane didn't cause as much damage relative to others in the past, but it did not help an already volatile market as rates are still increasing and capacity is still very scarce.  Each week the volume and tender rejects seems to find new heights.  The numbers also show that seasonality is out the window as we continue to venture into unknown market territory.

Weekly market updates help you identify areas where freight capacity is tight as well as areas that are loose and easier to cover. This helps you better understand the market and provides a basis for your pricing.

spot ratesAUG18


Spot Market Rates & Volume  

Below is a graph showing a weekly view of the month-to-date national average spot rates from DAT. 

Overall Spot load posts (Aug 3-Aug 9) are up 0.5% from last week, up 14.6% from last month, and up 75.6% year over year.

Dry van: Load-to-truck ratio is up 25% from last month and up 110.3% from 2019.

Dry Van Spot Rates: Rates are up 4.8% from last week, up 12.2% from last month, and up 10.3% year over year

Reefer: Load-to-Truck ratio is down 3.3% from last week, up 34.8% from last month, and up 102.1%  year over year. 

Reefer Spot Rates: Rates are up by 2.9% from last week, up 6.5% from last month, and up 4.3% year over year.  

Fuel prices have dropped 0.1% from last week. 

spot ratesAUG11

The pricing power index is a weekly gauge of who has more sway in negotiations when it comes to pricing and freight rates. The farther the needle leans to the left of the gauge, the more power the shipper has in negotiation. The farther to the right, the carrier has the upper hand. There is no change in the Pricing Power Index this week despite a continuation of the trends we’ve seen over the past few weeks: astounding volumes, carriers rejecting contracted freight at a high clip and rates continuing to trudge upward. DAT spot rates are now above 2018 levels.

 

Load volumes continue to soar this week. The Outbound Tender Volume Index (OTVI) continues to surge upward and hit another all-time high last Thursday at 13,739. This freight level is remarkable for a few reasons. First, there are no signs of any sort of typical seasonality this year; secondly, other parts of the economy have stalled and unemployment remains extremely high; lastly, OTVI has crossed into uncharted territory by climbing higher than the March panic-buying spree. 

The yearly comparisons are stunning — up 33% over 2019 and 34% above the 2018 value. The pace of reefer volumes picked up again after a down week last week and is up a little over 3% this week. 

Bottom line, is that carriers remain in a very strong position for negotiations and rates will be high for, at least, a while longer.

pricingpower

Outbound Tender Volume & Rejection Rates 

The graphs below shows the last six months of outbound tender volume and outbound rejection rates for the United States. The data is compiled from the heaviest shippers in the contract market. There continues to be more freight than is typical this time of year with much of the contract freight spilling into the spot markets as contract rates are rejected en masse. We have now surpassed the heaviest volume surges in March when we experience the panic-buying at the onset of the pandemic. Outbound tender rejections are at a record high for the year staying above 22 going into this week and volume hovering near 14k.

(Graphs below courtesy of Sonar/Freightwaves)

otri

otvi

Capacity This Week

Dark red areas (hot spots!) on the map show where capacity is tightening. Rates in these areas will be higher than in blue areas of the map where capacity is loose. As an example, reefer freight is experiencing heavy volume in the North East . Also areas of Southern California, Texas and the Midwest are showing tight capacity. Dry van rejection rates jumped over 35% in the following markets: Memphis, Joplin and New Orleans. We are seeing a spike of over 50% in rejection rates in Augusta, Maine as heavy volumes continue in Southern California, Atlanta and Harrisburg, PA. Expect tight capacity in these areas this week.

Note: Top Map is reefer capacity, bottom map is dry van. (Maps courtesy of DAT Market Conditions)

Reefer 8 11

 

Dry van 8 11


Weekly Market Brief

August 4, 2020

The big news this week is twofold. First is the arrival of tropical storm Isaias, (a name only The Weather Channel announcers can pronounce) which is now officially a hurricane. Some of the heaviest freight volume this week is along the East Coast corridor, directly in the storm's path, so expect possible delays and disruptions due to high winds, excessive rainfall and flash flooding. 

 

Also of note this week is the amount of freight volume in the market. Capacity is tightening with outbound tender rejection rates hitting an all-time high for 2020. Talk about a volatile market! Just five months ago in March we saw historically low truck rates and now, rates are hitting historical highs (see the DHL Power Pricing Index below). The third quarter is traditionally a time of slow down in the market, but this year we have seen a long and steady rise. 

 

Weekly market updates help you identify areas where freight capacity is tight as well as areas that are loose and easier to cover. This helps you better understand the market and provides a basis for your pricing.

 

Spot Market Rates & Volume  

Below is a graph showing a weekly view of the month-to-date national average spot rates from DAT. 

Overall Spot load posts (July 27-Aug 2) are up 8.6% from last week, up 14.6% from last month, and up 75.6% year over year.

Dry van: Load-to-truck ratio is up 110.3% from 2019.

Dry Van Spot Rates: Rates are up 4% from last week, up 12.4% from last month, and up 10.5% year over year

Reefer: Load-to-Truck ratio is up 28.9% from last week, up 34.8% from last month, and up 102.1%  year over year. 

Reefer Spot Rates: Rates are up by 2.2% from last week, up 6.7% from last month, and up 5.1% year over year.  

Fuel prices have dropped 0.4%  

spot ratesAUG4

Who's Got the Power?

The pricing power index is a weekly gauge of who has more sway in negotiations when it comes to pricing and freight rates. The farther the needle leans to the left of the gauge, the more power the shipper has in negotiation. The farther to the right, the carrier has the upper hand. The image below shows the most recent pricing power gauge from August 3, 2020 and as you can see, it has increased another 5 points from last week. In March of this year, it was in the 15-20 range!

dhl-pricing-8-3

 

Outbound Tender Volume & Rejection Rates 

The graphs below shows the last six months of outbound tender volume and the last year of outbound rejection rates for the United States. The data is compiled from the heaviest shippers in the contract market.The blue line indicates 2020, the green 2019, and the orange 2018. There continues to be more freight than usual this time of year with much of the contract freight spilling into the spot markets. We have now surpassed the heaviest volume surges in March when we experienced the panic-buying at the onset of the pandemic. Outbound tender rejections are at a record high for the year at 20.31 versus two weeks ago at 16.56.

(Graphs below courtesy of Sonar/Freightwaves)

 

OTVI 8 4 2020

 

OTRI 8 4 2020

Capacity This Week

Dark red areas (hot spots!) on the map show where capacity is tightening. Rates in these areas will be higher than in blue areas of the map where capacity is loose. As an example, reefer freight is experiencing heavy volume along the East Coast. Also areas of Southern California, Texas and the Midwest are showing tight capacity. The dry van market is also seeing capacity restraints in Southern California from the ports. Expect to pay more for freight coming out of Columbus, Ohio where there is a major hub for air cargo distribution right now, putting upward pressure on rates in those areas.

Note: Top Map is reefer capacity, bottom map is dry van. (Maps courtesy of DAT Market Conditions)

Capacity Map reefer 8 4 2020

 

Capacity Map van 8 4 2020

REQUEST-A-QUOTE

Produce Market Updates

The Mid-Atlantic states are hot with produce while Southern California continues to experience tight capacity.

 

East Coast: Virginia, and Maryland's Eastern Shore are in full swing right now, showing heavy volumes. Hurricane Isaias is bound to have an impact on travel today with winds up to 70 mph in some areas. 

Midwest: Indiana melons going strong! 

California: Rates are still spiking, much higher than usual volume this time of year due to port activity. Any produce coming out of this area will cost more to ship because of tightened capacity.

Texas: Short lead times and high rates coming out of Texas right now.

New Mexico: Onions still shipping strong out of New Mexico with an expected shift to Utah after that.

 

Book ahead and save!


Weekly Market Brief

July 28, 2020

This week's freight market is reaffirming what we already know from the last several months--this is no typical year in the supply chain. Historically speaking, mid-July is the month we should start seeing volumes drop with pricing following  like a faithful canine. But with this year's upset due to the pandemic, volumes are still holding strong in many areas, and what comes next is anybody's guess. 

 

California has remained a strong market over the last month, and this week we are seeing spikes in both the Ontario and Sacramento where there is extremely tight truck capacity. Other markets showing capacity issues this week are Harrisburg and Allentown, Pennsylvania. Both of these markets are in the top five highest increases in the country, week-over-week, for tender rejection rates. Also of note is the Denver market, which is exhibiting some of the most rapidly softening conditions.

 

Weekly market updates help you identify areas where freight capacity is tight as well as areas that are loose and easier to cover. This helps you better understand the market and provides a basis for your pricing.

Spot Market Rates & Volume  

Below is a graph showing a weekly view of the month-to-date national average spot rates from DAT. 

Spot load posts (July 20-26) are down 3% from last week, but are up 82% when comparing the month of June from May. 

_________________________________________

Date Range: July 20-26 versus July 13-19

Dry Van: Load-to-Truck ratio was down 3.8% versus 4.9% down from the week prior

Dry Van Spot Rates: surprisingly, rates are up 2.5% versus a 4% increase last week from the prior week

Reefer: Load-to-Truck ratio is down 7.9% versus 1.3% down from the prior week

Reefer Spot Rates: Rates are up by 0.6% this week versus up by 2.3% from the prior week

Fuel prices have dropped 0.2% from last week. 

spot rates7-27

Who's Got the Power?

The pricing power index is a weekly gauge of who has more sway in negotiations when it comes to pricing and freight rates. The farther the needle leans to the left of the gauge, the more power the shipper has in negotiation. The farther to the right, the carrier has the upper hand. The image below shows the most recent pricing power gauge from July 24, 2020 and as you can see, it has pushed even further  toward the carrier side compared to the week before.  

dhl-pricing-7-24

Outbound Tender Volume & Rejection Rates 

The graphs below shows the last six months of outbound tender volume and the last year of outbound rejection rates for the United States. The data is compiled from the heaviest shippers in the contract market.The blue line indicates 2020, the green 2019, and the orange 2018. There continues to be more freight than is typical this time of year with much of the contract freight spilling into the spot markets. Outbound tender rejection are slightly higher at 17.87 versus last week at 16.56.

(Graphs below courtesy of Sonar/Freightwaves)

OTVI YTD July 28 2020

OTRI YTD July 28 2020

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Capacity This Week

Dark red areas (hot spots!) on the map show where capacity is tightening. Rates in these areas will be higher than in blue areas of the map where capacity is loose. As an example, reefer freight is experiencing heavy volume along the North Carolina, Virginia coastal areas (and the map doesn't show it but we are experiencing heavier volume on Maryland's Eastern Shore too). Also areas of Utah and western Colorado are showing tight capacity. The dry van market is seeing capacity restraints in  parts of Missouri and southern Illinois as well as lower Arkansas, putting upward pressure on rates in those areas.

Note: Top Map is reefer capacity, bottom map is dry van. (Maps courtesy of DAT.)

Capacity Map Reefer 7 28

 

Capacity Map Dry van 7 28

Produce Market Updates

It is an unpredictable market with new COVID-19 spikes in prime produce shipping states, but this is what we are seeing this week. 

East Coast: North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland's Eastern Shore are in full swing right now, showing heavy volumes.

Northeast: Rates are fluctuating with capacity up and down daily. 

Midwest: Melons coming out of Indiana should be starting up soon.

California: Rates are still spiking, much higher than usual volume this time of year.

Texas: Plenty of freight still coming out of Texas with moderate rates in some areas.

 

Book ahead and save!

REQUEST-A-QUOTE


Weekly Market Brief

July 21, 2020

Now that DOT week is behind us and some produce areas are slowing down, capacity has loosened up. We are still experiencing heavy volume pockets around the country, such as California, (Los Angeles and Fresno in particular) and Texas,(Houston and Ft. Worth), while other places like Jacksonville, Florida and Savannah, GA are showing strong volume decreases. 

 

One of the factors we watch to evaluate the freight market is the manufacturing sector. A recent  Empire State Manufacturing Index survey shows that New York and Pennsylvania manufacturers have seen positive numbers for the first time since the start of the pandemic. (See graph below). Although it is not necessarily indicative of the whole country, it is a bit of good news in an uncertain economy.  

 

Weekly market updates help you identify areas where freight capacity is tight as well as areas that are loose and easier to cover. This helps you better understand the market and provides a basis for your pricing.

 

Empire State Manufacturing Index Survey

Empire State Manufacturing Survey_Index

 

Spot Market Rates & Volume  

Below is a graph showing a weekly view of the month-to-date national average spot rates from DAT. 

Spot load posts (July 13-19) are up in 22.5% from this week last year, but down 1.5% from the previous week. The big news here is that May 2020 to June 2020 posts reveal a significant increase of 82%.


Date Range: July 13 -19 versus July 6 - 12 

Dry Van: Load-to-Truck ratio was down 4.9% from the week prior

Dry Van Spot Rates: surprisingly, rates are up 4% from the prior week

Reefer: Load-to-truck ratio is 1.3% down from the prior week

Reefer Spot Rates: Rates are up by 2.3% from the prior week

There were no changes in fuel prices between the week of July 6 and the week of July 13.

 

spot ratesJULY21

 

Who's Got the Power?

The pricing power index is a weekly gauge of who has more sway in negotiations when it comes to pricing and freight rates. The farther the needle leans to the left of the gauge, the more power the shipper has in negotiation. The farther to the right, the carrier has the upper hand. The image below shows the most recent pricing power gauge from July 17, 2020 and as you can see, it has pushed another 10 points toward the carrier side compared to the week before.  

 

dhl-pricing-7-17

 

Outbound Tender Volume & Rejection Rates 

The graph below shows the last six months of outbound tender volume and rejection rates for the United States. The data is compiled from the heaviest shippers in the contract market.The blue line indicates 2020, the green 2019, and the orange 2018. There continues to be an ample supply of freight in the marketplace,15 to 20 percent higher year-over-year on the contract side. Outbound tender rejection rates are holding steady, similar to where they were last week, but slightly higher at 16.56.

(Graphs below courtesy of Sonar/Freightwaves)

 

July 20, 2020

 

OTRI July 20 2020

 

Capacity This Week

Dark red areas (hot spots!) on the map show where capacity is tightening. Rates in these areas will be higher than in blue areas of the map where capacity is loose. As an example, reefer freight is still tightening notably along the East Coast as produce works its way north. The dry van market is seeing heavier capacity restraints in many areas of the West and Southwest which is putting upward pressure on rates in those areas.

Note: Top Map is reefer capacity, bottom map is dry van. (Maps courtesy of DAT.)

 

Capacity map reefer 7 21

 

Capacity map Dry 7 21

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Produce Market Updates

It is an unpredictable market with new COVID-19 spikes in prime produce shipping states, but this is what we are seeing this week. 

Arkansas, Georgia, North Carolina: Shipping volume out of these southern states has significantly slowed.

Northern Alabama, East Tennessee, Eastern Maryland: Volumes are starting to heat up and expected to continue this week and next.  

Midwest: We expect to see the Midwest produce volumes starting soon.

California: Big spike in rates as melons and grapes are still shipping out this week.

Texas: Still strong carrier demand this week, especially Houston and Ft. Worth areas. 

 

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Weekly Market Brief

July 14, 2020

63,200 individuals in the United States tested positive for COVID-19 in a single day just last Thursday. That is a record. Since the rise in infections are mostly in southern states such as Texas, Georgia, Arizona, and Florida, panic-buying is returning and capacity is tightening in these areas. Adding even more stress to the market is this week's arrival of the annual DOT road inspections. Read the full report.

Weekly market updates help you identify areas where freight capacity is tight as well as areas that are loose and easier to cover. This helps you better understand the market and provides a basis for your pricing.

marketreport-unchart

Choptank Transport: Market Report Apr/May 2020

Like the famous words of Captain James T. Kirk, we are boldly going “where no man has gone before,” and I am not talking about the outermost regions of space. I am talking about right here on terra firma. Sure, we’ve had plagues and pandemics before, but never with the population, economy, and intricate network of transportation and travel that we have in the 21st century. It is a brave new world, alright, and we are scrambling to adapt and adopt.

Luckily, adversity is the mother of invention, and it is evident in the way we as humans are adapting to the global pandemic. Shippers who are lucky enough to be manufacturing are facing serious challenges, such as working with reduced staff, dealing with volatility in order patterns, finding a need for alternate sourcing, and navigating around unclear government regulations that differ from state to state. Despite the chaos, freight keeps moving, and shippers are finding new and sometimes better ways to get the job done.

Read the Market Report here.

Download Apr/May  Market Report

Choptank Transport Market Report: Q1 2020

Looking at the freight market in Q1 of 2020 is much like watching the new season of Ozark on Netflix; it first requires a brief look at what came before. My personal binge-watching policy dictates that before diving into a new season, I do a quick recap of the last two episodes to get the full impact of what is going on now.

So, let’s review what was happening in Q4 of 2019 in the freight industry. Everyone summed up the year by comparing it to the bull market of 2018, with slight resignation but hopefulness. The overriding sentiment was that even though the market in 2019 paled in comparison to the previous year, the industry was still experiencing growth, and we had 2020 to catch up. 

Read the full report ...

Download Logistics Market Report Q1 2020

 

Choptank Transport Market Report Q4 Year End

Record truck orders and record freight volumes in 2018 served as the backdrop for a significant correction to the market in 2019. The year began with a plethora of trucks and freight volumes underperforming expectations. It is estimated that there are approximately 75,000 more tractors available than there is freight to fill them.1 Shipments became easier to cover, and as a result, carrier rates were historically low. Even though economic growth continued in an upward trajectory, it was at a much slower pace than the previous year and not enough to compensate for the overabundance of equipment.

Read the full report ... 

Download Market Report Q4 Year End 2019

 

Choptank Transport Market Report Q3

The freight market is notorious for having a life of its own, but the difference between 2018 and 2019 was an eyebrow-raiser for sure. Industry experts say the 2018 spikes in volume were higher, and the declines more rapid, than ever before. In Q3, we saw what appears to be the beginning of a correction to the market, a good sign for the industry.

The beginning of Q3 initially looked dismal with loose capacity, tender rejection at an all-time low, and freight volume significantly down from last year. It was good news for shippers who were pleased with high tender acceptance rates. Finding trucks was easy, and pricing was significantly down from 2018.  On the flip side, less demand and not moving as much freight mean less business growth for shippers.

Read the full market report ...

Download Market Report Q2 2019

 

Choptank Market Report Q2 Update

The transportation market has been like a yo-yo over the last year and at the end of Q2 there are signs of an uptick in volume, but rates are still low and capacity is still good in most areas. Read our report to learn the latest. 

Read more ...

Download Market Report Q2 2019

Choptank Transport Market Report Q2

According to economists and supply chain experts, this year's freight market will be nothing like last year. The further we get into 2019, the more forecasters are adjusting their predictions for economic growth, expecting less than originally stated. 

Read more ...

 Current Market Report April May

Market Report Q1 2018

After coming down off the bull market of 2018 when unparalleled economic growth resulted in record-high rates and short capacity, January may have been a disappointment for some. Lower than last year's record success, the manufacturing sector is experiencing a steady 3% growth rate, year-over-year at present. That might sound disheartening, but keep in mind, this is the traditional “slow" time of the freight year and it is still growth. If you’re worried about our economy, take notice of other countries, like Europe, who are seeing a much more drastic decline in economic prosperity with Brexit looming and tariffs of their own to worry about. The truth is, the whole global economy is slowing down.  read more and download below!

JAN/FEB Market Report

Choptank Transport Market Report 2018 in Review

By Brian Fox  |  Dec 2018

A lot has happened in the world of transportation and logistics in 2018.  This could be a novel about all the things that happened in 2018 and the many predictions for 2019.  Above all of the headlines, though, we have lived through the strongest year for spot and contract pricing increases in the history of trucking in the U.S. 25% increases in the spot market rate, 30 percent in dry van and reefer, and spot market rate increases of over 25 percent in flatbed; which were followed by contract rate increases of over 15 percent in all three modes!  All that data could point to another turbulent and soaring market in 2019.  However, and lucky us, there is a mountain of data to dig into and the picture becomes clearer after some good analysis. 

Of course, all predictions depend on some large macro factors, with some drivers being bigger than others (to be discussed in-depth below), but economic demand, the durable goods index and the global oil market could lay all predictions to waste and start a new narrative at any time.  (How’s that for a disclaimer?!)

Here is a brief market overview and report on all the factors driving the current market, our expectations for where it’s headed, and most importantly, how to manage this market and come out on top!   

A litany of micro and macro-economic factors is at play in the current market and driving what we’ll experience going into 2019.  Most experts agree the market...

read more and download below!

2018 Review Report

Cursor-Bar.png "It's a quest... a quest for fun!"

By Brian Fox  |  Oct/Nov 2018

 

If you like roller coasters, and you handle them better than John Candy (the Wally World security guard), you might be enjoying this market!  The highs and lows have been staggering over the last several months and I think we’re all in the mood for some stability and a balanced market where we’re all happy and having fun. Say what you will about Clark Griswold in the infamous National Lampoon films, but he truly loved his family and just wanted to show them an epically good time and a memorable trip!  Depending on which role you fill in the supply chain, from shipper to broker to carrier, you’ve felt your share of “disasters” to your budget the last couple years. 

Here is a brief market overview and report on all the factors driving the current market, our expectations for where it’s headed, and most importantly, how to manage this market and come out on top!   

Read the full report ...

OCT/NOV Market Report

Cursor-Bar.png Logistics Moves Pretty Fast

By Brian Fox  |  Aug/Sep 2018

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” — Ferris.  The iconic picture of these two looking at the Ferrari careening down the hill might describe the shock you are feeling as the market pivoted sharply this past month.  Of course, it depends on which side you are on as to whether you have a smile or a frown!  Just as “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” enjoys a resurgence after 30 years we are reminded, once again, of how things are cyclical and we should be anything but shocked by the market’s volatility.  Studying truckstop.com’s MDI report, history shows that rates are following a trend by softening this time of year, but the drop has been bigger than expected.  It is also the same time that mother nature visited last year and gave us a big push into this current, chaotic market, so, it’s no time to take your eye off the ball and a great time to secure a good partner to make sure capacity is available for the upcoming months.

Here is a brief market overview and report on all the factors driving the current market, our expectations for where it’s headed, and most importantly, how to manage this market and come out on top!   

Making a market forecast can be as unpredictable as Ferris’ next scheme, but certain factors can help give us guidance.  After last year we all experienced the power of Mother Nature...download for the rest of the story:

AUG/SEP Market Report

Cursor-Bar.png Jaws 5 & the Freight Market

By Brian Fox  |  Jun/Jul 2018

As we head into the summer on a wave of record-high MDI we have the sense of uneasiness with the market and what might be lurking around the corner, or in this metaphor, below.  Much like the great original summer blockbuster Jaws, (which was released 43 years ago, sorry to make you feel old), the movie, like the current market, gives participants an “edge of your seat” scare as you don’t know what will happen next. 

Here is a brief market overview and report on all the factors driving the current market, our expectations for where it’s headed, and most importantly, how to manage this market and come out on top!   

Many variables shift and drive the market each month.  Government regulations, weather, seasonal shipping, the economy and the number of available trucks are the biggest factors that contribute to volatile rates.  Any of those factors could be “Jaws” in this scenario...download for the rest of the story:

JUN/JUL Market Report

Cursor-Bar.png Back to the Future & How to Beat Biff?

By Brian Fox  |  Apr/May 2018

The first quarter of 2018 was like a young George McFly sitting in the car before the dance; scary, unpredictable and a foreboding presence hovering over him.  Recently, it looks to be working out with the spot market softening and rates inching back down.  Many think this should continue short term.  

Here is a brief market overview and report on all the factors driving the current market, our expectations for where it’s headed, and most importantly, how to manage this market and come out on top!   

Whether it was 2014 or just last year, we’ve seen this type of market before.  As George Santayana famously said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  Many variables shift and drive the market...download for the rest of the story:

APR/MAY Market Report

Cursor-Bar.png Where are rates headed in 2018?

By Brian Fox  |  Feb/Mar 2018

The second half of 2017, and its impact on this market has been chronicled ad nauseam.  We now have many competing forces and variables at play with almost as many opinions on where the market will go from here.

Here is a brief market overview and report on all the factors driving the current market, our expectations for where it’s headed, and most importantly, how to manage this market and come out on top!   

Shippers were paying premium rates as the strong surge in business that began last year .

...download for the rest of the story:

FEB/MAR Market Report

New Year, New Market?

By Brian Fox  |  January 2018

Looks like we’re trading 2017 Hurricanes for winter cyclones and a Polar Vortex.  A historically high MDI will stay high with this weather being the driving force.  A resurgent economy, a long-awaited infrastructure proposal and new tax cuts will help ease the pain of these higher rates.

Here is a brief market overview and report on all the factors driving the current market, our expectations for where it’s headed, and most importantly, how to manage this market and come out on top! ...download for the rest of the story:

January Market Report

Is it a “Trump Bump”, ELD’s, Hurricane Hangover, all of the above?

By Brian Fox  |  December 2017

We know President Trump thinks he is driving the economy, but regardless if you agree, the economy and all the other factors swirling around our market will keep this roller coaster going for some time.  Here is a brief market overview and report on all the factors driving the current market, our expectations for where it’s headed, and most importantly, how to manage this market and come out on top! 

A stronger economy has been pushing more loads into the marketplace, and after a record-breaking...download for the rest of the story:

December Market Report

Is this the perfect storm to drive down capacity and drive up rates?

By Brian Fox  |  November 2017

No, but it’s certainly a turbulent and volatile market right now. 

Here is a brief market overview and report on all the factors driving the current market, our expectations for where it’s headed, and most importantly, how to manage this market and come out on top! 

A stronger economy has been pushing more loads into the marketplace while capacity has been shrinking with fewer drivers on the road.  As this was a slower, smaller storm front, Mother Nature intervened with much bigger...download for the rest of the story:

November Market Report