Trucking spot rates are finding their floor as volumes start grinding higher.

In the next few weeks we have our eye on two important volume stories. We’ll watch to see what effect the re-opening of Texas has (restaurants, movie theaters and malls will re-open with limited capacity beginning Friday) on southern California, Phoenix, Dallas and Houston volumes. That could provide an important boost for national truckload volumes, as early April rallies in Los Angeles and Dallas have largely faded.

There are, of course, a number of other states planning to re-open sooner rather than later, but with New York and California closed, Texas is the most populous, and most consequential for freight volumes.

Secondly, we’re concerned about food supply chains, especially meat processing and packing in the Midwest. Low levels of automation and close quarters in meat plants have contributed to hundreds of infections and a number of plant shutdowns, which have disproportionately affected the Midwest. 

Although there may be some gamesmanship in executives’ reports of ‘broken’ meat supply chains – especially as companies look to pump sales and angle for government assistance –  we also hear from freight brokerage executives that reefer capacity in those markets has been affected. Check our ‘freight demand’ section for more details on which Midwest markets have seen reefer volumes drop.

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