National average spot rates inclusive of fuel dropped by 20 cents to $2.85 per mile. This represented a week-over-week (w/w) drop of 11.5%.
Contracted tenders fell 1.17% week-over-week as drivers have now returned to work. Spot volumes fell in the vast majority of lanes FreightWaves tracks and in all four major lanes we monitor each week. We continue to expect an upward trajectory for volumes in coming weeks despite typical January seasonality, though a slow week is testing this view (but not yet a trend). Contract volume on a tender rejection-adjusted basis is outpacing 2020 levels by 20.8%.
Relative capacity loosened by ~54 basis points (bps) week-over-week to 22.10%, which indicates the fall in tenders was also driven by falling load volumes. This continues a multiweek slide for tender rejections, driven by improving routing guide compliance.
The backdrop for truckload (at least through 1H 2021) remains healthy with a strong consumer, further stimulus forthcoming and a recovering industrial economy.
Consumer spending, according to Bank of America card spending data, was up a torrid 9.7% year-over-year last week driven by the initial disbursement of stimulus. Lastly, the continued outlook for prolonged “Containergeddon” at West Coast ports should support the nationwide freight backlog.
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