Consumer spending drove freight growth in 2020

Chart of the Week:  Outbound Tender Volume Index – USA, Personal Consumption Expenditures – Durable Goods SONAR: OTVI.USA, PCE.DG

Consumer spending on durable goods expanded dramatically in the second half of 2020, showing a significant connection to FreightWaves’ national Outbound Tender Volume Index (OTVI). Prior to the pandemic, this connection was not as clean thanks to a healthier mix of manufacturing and industrial activity. The biggest question now is what happens if and when this...

https://s29755.pcdn.co/news/consumer-spending-drove-freight-growth-in-2020

When will the next wave of trucking capacity hit the market?

Chart of the Week:  Employment Not Seasonally Adjusted – Truck Transportation, Equipment Orders – Class 8 Vehicles – USA SONAR: EMPN.TRUK, ORDERS.CL8

One of the biggest questions of 2021 for trucking is whether a wave of capacity will enter the market that stabilizes the current elevated spot rate environment. This is a question many transportation providers struggle with each year as they attempt to balance the need for growth versus cost control. Overextend your fleet beyond demand and you...

https://s29755.pcdn.co/news/when-will-the-next-wave-of-trucking-capacity-hit-the-market

Christmas vacation will exacerbate supply chain bottlenecks

Chart of the Week:  Weekly Customs Import Shipments – USA, Logistics Managers’ Index – Warehouse Capacity SONAR: WCSTM.USA, LMI.WHCP

If you thought 2020 would go quietly into that good night, you haven’t been paying much attention. Many people have posted on social media that they are ready for this year to end, as if the problems of the year created by the COVID-19 pandemic will suddenly disappear with the turning of the calendar page. One headache that appears to be staying with us at least...

https://s29755.pcdn.co/news/christmas-vacation-will-exacerbate-supply-chain-bottlenecks

Spot market carries momentum from Thanksgiving into December

Chart of the Week:  Truckstop.com 7-Day Average Van Rate Per Mile – USA, Van Outbound Tender Reject Index – USA SONAR: TSTOPVRPM.USA, VOTRI.USA

With truckload services going for a premium on the spot market since Labor Day, it has been difficult to discern where and when there has been opportunity to negotiate lower rates. Looking at the chart comparing Truckstop.com’s average van rate for its top 100 lanes and the national Outbound Tender Reject Index for van load requests, there has been a...

https://s29755.pcdn.co/news/spot-market-carries-momentum-from-thanksgiving-into-december

Produce spot rates break $10K per load in November

Chart of the Week:  USDA Produce Truckload Spot Rate – San Francisco to Philadelphia, Fresno to Atlanta, San Francisco to Atlanta SONAR: AGRATE.SFOPHL, AGRATE.FATATL, AGRATE.SFOATL

According to the USDA, spot rates for truckloads hauling produce are hitting their highest marks of the year, with rates exceeding $10,000  in certain lanes across the U.S. Almost anyone who has been involved in domestic transportation over the past few years knows about the infamous “produce” season that typically...

https://s29755.pcdn.co/news/produce-spot-rates-break-10k-per-load-in-november

Carrier profits surge thanks to pandemic freight boom

Chart of the Week:  Operating Ratio for TCA Van Carrier – Company and Leased Fleet, Van Outbound Tender Rejection Index – USA SONAR: OPRAT.VCFOO, VOTRI.USA

The average dry van carrier operating ratio (OR) for Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) members dipped to a multiyear low in September, falling below 94% for the first time since late 2015. Operating ratio is the ratio of operating expense to operating revenue — lower values indicate a more profitable operation. The boundary was crossed as...

https://s29755.pcdn.co/news/carrier-profits-surge-thanks-to-pandemic-freight-boom

Reefer capacity tapped out prior to vaccine release

Chart of the Week:  Reefer Outbound Tender Rejection Index, Van Outbound Tender Rejection Index – USA SONAR: ROTRI.USA, VOTRI.USA

The national reefer — industry slang for temperature-controlled trailers — rejection index (ROTRI) topped 48% for the first time since the index’s creation this week, which could move even higher once the vaccine for COVID-19 begins being distributed in the coming months. This means that shippers that utilize temperature-controlled equipment should be prepared to...

https://s29755.pcdn.co/news/reefer-capacity-tapped-out-prior-to-vaccine-release

West Coast imports slowing; trucking and rail volumes remain strong

Chart of the Week:  Customs Import Shipments, Outbound Tender Volume Index, Outbound Loaded Rail Containers – Los Angeles SONAR: CSTM.LAX, OTVI.LAX, ORAILL.LAX

Daily U.S. import shipments clearing the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have been trending lower over the past eight weeks after peaking in early September. Import shipment volumes have exceeded the previous two years consistently since about mid-July. These figures are starting to move closer to the previous year, which should mean...

https://s29755.pcdn.co/news/west-coast-imports-slowing-trucking-and-rail-volumes-remain-strong

Fuel price volatility could return amid peak season surge

Chart of the Week:  Ultra-Low Sulfur Diesel Rack Price, Fuel Spread between Rack and Retail Price – USA SONAR: ULSDR.USA, FUELS.USA

With trucking capacity as tight as it has been in over a decade thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, truckload carriers are enjoying some of the highest spot market rates since 2018. A big component of those rates is fuel costs, which after a sharp drop in April due to low demand have been extremely stable until this week, compressing the spread between the wholesale...

https://s29755.pcdn.co/news/fuel-price-volatility-could-return-amid-peak-season-surge

Will the import boom lead trucking to an active ‘off’ season?

Chart of the Week:  US Customs Maritime Import Shipments, Outbound Tender Volume Index – USA SONAR: CSTM.USA, OTVI.USA

Imports and truckload tenders have been moving in near lockstep since mid-May as the U.S. crawls out of the pandemic-induced recession. With elevated import volumes forecast to continue into 2021, this could mean trucking may have a stronger opening quarter even after the traditional holiday peak season ends. 

Prior to COVID-19, the connection between imports and domestic...

https://s29755.pcdn.co/news/will-the-import-boom-lead-trucking-to-an-active-off-season

Join Our Newsletter
Enter your email to receive a weekly round-up of shipping news.