Life is hard for 3PLs right now: purchased transportation costs are way up, there are ‘difficult conversations’ to be had with customers, and the load board that truck brokers are increasingly forced to book are not the most reliable.

Truckload tender rejections moderated over the past few days to 21.26%, a very high number, but spot volumes and rates continue to rise. We view the 98% week-over-week (w/w) increase in Truckstop.com spot volume from Los Angeles to Dallas as signaling the difficulty that freight brokerages are encountering trying to move volume with their established carrier networks. 

As the trucking market rolls over, spot rates exceed contract rates, and 3PLs give back freight, there is a lot of volume for the taking. Shippers are reassessing relationships with their transportation providers and there are both short-term and long-term opportunities for freight brokers. In the short term, market volatility and spot loads tendered by shippers give brokers the ability to create wide margins in some lanes.

3PLs thinking more long-term have the opportunity to strategize and convert spot freight from desperate customers to contract freight at sustainable prices.

Import volume data (covered thoroughly in tomorrow’s intermodal report) suggests that the U.S. will in fact see a robust peak season, so we do not think that upward pressure in freight markets will abate. Even at the spot market’s elevated current level, we still believe there is more risk to the upside.

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