Outbound tender volumes on the rebound

The Outbound Tender Volume Index (OTVI) has recovered from the holiday disruption and now sits at 14,344. Tender volumes are now on par with the last weeks leading up to Christmas, and the index is back in an uptrend. Since the OTVI does encompass some rejected contract tenders, it’s important to adjust the index to account for this. On a rejection-adjusted basis, outbound tender volumes are up ~20% year-over-year. It is unlikely that there will be any meaningful correction back toward...


Tender rejections off to strong start in 2021

Due to its calculation and presentation as a seven-day moving average, OTVI remains distorted by the New Year’s holiday. However, even in its trough, we can compare year-over-year (y/y) growth. On an adjusted basis after removing the influence of higher year-over-year tender rejections, contracted tenders are up 13% y/y — a solid start to the beginning of the traditional slow season. 

This year is unlikely to see the typically slow season. In fact, with the likely passage of a $2 trillion...


2020 closes with plenty (of freight) left in the tank

Chart of the Week:  Daily Customs Shipments, Outbound Tender Reject Index – USA SONAR: CSTM.USA, OTRI.USA

This final 2020 edition of the chart of the week combines the two most relevant statistics of the year: maritime import shipments and tender rejection rates. Before the pandemic, the two measures had little connection to each other. In 2019, container imports had time to sit in warehouses as shippers were able to plan and prepare for seasonal purchasing patterns to reemerge, allowing them to...


Tender rejections tighten into the holiday

National tender volume retreated more than 5% over the past week, in continuation of the now more than 15% slide since Thanksgiving. In a year in which seasonal patterns have been ignored and chaos has reigned, volumes are actually following a seasonal path into the Christmas holiday, albeit at a much higher level than normal. The Outbound Tender Volume Index (OTVI) has declined on average 6%-8% over the past three-week period in previous years, but due to the extraordinarily high base this...


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...


Outbound tender volumes cool this week but remain at very high level

The Outbound Tender Volume Index has normalized after its holiday disruption and now sits at 15,266. OTVI has taken a typical seasonal path downward, falling nearly 11% since Thanksgiving. This is a more pronounced decline than in the previous two years, but volumes are at such an extraordinary level, this is not concerning in our view. 

There is a strong pipeline of West Coast imports that should lead to large freight flows in those markets well into Q1 of next year, though retail loads will be...


Outbound tender volumes rebound post-Thanksgiving

The Outbound Tender Volume Index is calculated and presented on a seven-day moving average basis. As such, OTVI becomes distorted in the week following national holidays. For that reason, weekly comparisons don’t glean much meaningful insight at the current time. We can, however, compare the depth of this year’s trough to that of previous years. This year, the decline was slightly more shallow than the previous two years, which could suggest that volumes might snap back strongly when the index...


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...


Outbound tender volumes slip due to holiday but rejections notch all-time high

Outbound tender rejections fell this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday and so it is best not to read too much into current trends. Declining volumes are typical this time of year due to driver preferences aimed at seeking out freight that gets them home. Prior to the holiday drop-off, spot rates, tender volumes and rejections were all affirming the continued strength of the market and we expect a rebound moving forward.

The truckload market has been driven by the consumer in 2020. And while...


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...


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