The trucking market in 2020 has been everywhere, man, and now, once again, it’s headed for higher ground.
The national average dry van truckload spot rate on Truckstop.com’s load boards edged up 0.6% last week to $2.91/mile while the national truckload tender rejection rate hit an all-time high at 28.32% Monday. As driver preferences constrain capacity into the holidays, we expect upward volatility in rates, particularly in refrigerated food and retail.
Recent softness in import shipments data appears to be more an artifact of port congestion and limitations on human customs officials’ bills of lading throughput. There are many vessels anchored off West Coast ports with freight waiting to be brought onshore.
Hot spot markets and the difficulty carriers are having recruiting and retaining drivers — who are ditching their company fleet jobs to go independent in large numbers — have prevented shippers from getting any kind of meaningful grip on improving routing guide compliance. That basic fact is reshuffling relationships between shippers and transportation providers, creating opportunities for freight brokerages that can secure capacity in this environment, have the operational sophistication to provide creative solutions and commit to customer service.
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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.