Asset operators: Finding the way home

Bit by bit, trucking carriers are finding their way home out of a disastrous April during which volumes and rates fell precipitously and empty miles increased. Volumes have returned and asset utilization has begun to normalize. Revenue per driver per week has started ticking back up but hasn’t yet established

By |July 16th, 2020|Special Topic, Trucking|

Trucking Markets: Texas stays hot after the holiday

Contracted truckload volumes have recovered, tender rejections are still elevated, and while some rates came in after the holiday, others didn’t.   Freight brokers we spoke to were surprised that trucking markets did not meaningfully cool off after July Fourth and are increasingly convinced that freight patterns this year will

By |July 14th, 2020|3PLs, Trucking|

The Future of the TMS

Over the past three decades, TMSes have evolved beyond the management of shipments to encompass many more processes and bring shippers, intermediaries, and carriers closer together. TMSes that began their lives as relatively siloed, on-premise platforms requiring large amounts of manual data entry are now connected via API to shipper

By |July 2nd, 2020|3PLs, Shippers, Special Topic, Technology, Trucking|

Trucking Markets: Are we peaking?

Contracted and spot volumes in all three major equipment types – dry van, reefer and flatbed – are growing; rates are increasing; capacity is tightening.    At this point, it doesn’t look like the national trucking market completely rolled over. Although tender rejections are positive year-over-year, indicating that capacity on

By |June 30th, 2020|3PLs, Trucking|

Trucking Markets: Spot freight strikes back

Spot freight is coming back and tightening capacity across the country, even as rates out of Los Angeles fade (typical for this time of year). On a national basis, contracted truckload tenders are being rejected at a rate of 6.4%, just below the crucial 7-10% level that ‘flips’ the market

By |June 16th, 2020|3PLs, Trucking|

Trucking markets: A fundamental dislocation

Capacity ratcheted slightly tighter across a broad swath of the country again this week, but not yet to levels (7-10%) that would trigger widespread inflation in spot market rates. Spot rates for dry vans increased faster than spot rates for refrigerated equipment, which were flattish and may be peaking. Contracted

By |June 10th, 2020|3PLs, Trucking|

Trucking Markets: the bid-ask spread widens

The transportation industry is bifurcated by opposing views of spot rates’ direction during the second half of 2020. Shippers have started asking carriers for longer contract periods, looking to lock in very low rates. They’re putting pressure on carriers by tendering spot loads at prices well below agreed-upon contract rates.

By |June 2nd, 2020|3PLs, Trucking|

Asset operators: Turbulent seas

The current business environment for operators of asset-based trucking carriers is extremely challenging.  Apart from safety and insurance, fuel spreads, and used truck prices – the carrier-specific metrics covered in this report – loose capacity, low spot market volumes and low rates are the most important backdrop for carriers, and

By |June 1st, 2020|Special Topic, Trucking|

Trucking markets: digging out of a hole

Despite noisy holiday volume data, by most measures trucking markets are continuing their recovery. Week-over-week comparisons look dramatic and make that progress look faster than it actually is: remember that rates are relatively low, capacity is relatively loose, and spot volumes—but not contracted volumes—are soft relative to last year. That

By |June 1st, 2020|3PLs, Trucking|

Reefer markets: enjoying a positive setup

Outbound refrigerated freight from California is surging, driving up rates and tender rejections. Reefer capacity tightened in the middle of the country, too, but loosened slightly in Florida. In our discussion of spot rates below, brokers told us that in some important lanes, spot rates are actually higher year-over-year. We

By |June 1st, 2020|Special Topic, Trucking|

Trucking markets: Cali heat

Volumes across the Southeast and Gulf took a breather this week as demand softened, while California and Florida heated up. Produce season is here, and reefer rates out of southern California repeated last week’s performance, jumping another ~9%. It’s vital to remember that going forward, week-over-week and month-over-month comparisons coming

By |June 1st, 2020|3PLs, Trucking|

Global trade update

West Coast ports have taken their medicine; now it’s time for the East Coast to suffer. China’s economy is working to make up for lost time (air pollution now exceeds 2019 levels), and West Coast volumes have already started reaping the benefits, gaining momentum out of their March trough. Economic

By |June 1st, 2020|3PLs, Intermodal, Rail, Special Topic, Trucking|

Transportation Liquidity and Credit Analysis in a COVID19 Driven Recession

When the financial markets come under stress and the U.S. enters a recession, creditanalysis always comes back to the forefront and is the most important considerationof investors. This is where we find ourselves now in the aftermath of COVID-19becoming a global pandemic that has effectively shut down much of the

By |May 6th, 2020|3PLs, Financials, Intermodal, Rail, Special Topic, Trucking|