Tender rejections were higher this week in 87% of our 135 freight markets compared to last week as volumes maintained their strength, carriers rejected more freight, and spot rates found renewed momentum.We believe that trucking capacity is largely sold out for the year and that the capacity now available is what shippers will have in Q3 and Q4. As we get deeper into transports’ earnings season, we’ve heard more talk about contract rates moving up from everyone from truckload providers to intermodal marketing companies. We believe it’s a matter of “if” and not “when,” and that asset-based carriers will have more negotiating leverage than 3PLs in a period of uncertainty. It’s vital to remember that truckload volumes are not being driven higher by economic outperformance, but by a profound shift in consumer behavior. In June, personal consumption expenditures as a broad category were down 4.8% year-over-year, but for durable goods, PCE was up 8.5%.We think that these freight-biased consumer behaviors, which include a lack of travel opportunities, higher demand for grocery, and intensified e-commerce buying, may not be permanent, but they will last longer than some expect and they will be resilient in the face of renewed shutdowns or COVID outbreaks (because they’re in fact a “symptom” of those outbreaks).
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John Paul conducts research on multimodal freight markets and holds a Ph.D. in English literature from the University of Michigan. Prior to building a research team at FreightWaves, JP spent two years on the editorial side covering trucking markets, freight brokerage, and M&A.