May 31 SONAR sightings: Pennsylvania to North Carolina, carrier update, more

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Highlights from Tuesday’s SONAR reports are below. For more information on SONAR – the industry’s fastest freight forecasting platform – or to request a demo, Click here. Also be sure to check the latest update of SONAR, TRAC — the most recent spot rate data in the industry.

Way to watch: Harrisburg, PA to Charlotte, NC

Insight: Spot rates increased slightly as capacity decreased due to the Memorial Day weekend.

Strong points:

  • Spot rates in May fell to an average low of $2.61 per mile mid-month before rising to $2.76 per mile before Memorial Day weekend.
  • Over the past month, Harrisburg’s outbound bid rejection rates have fallen from 8.75% to 12.28% and Harrisburg’s in Charlotte from 8.8% to 11.6%.
  • Harrisburg’s outbound tender volumes fell from a high of 410 basis points (bps) in early May to a monthly low of 340 bps before rising to 366.78 over Memorial Day weekend . The decline and subsequent rise in volumes reflects the volatility of spot market rates.

What does this mean for you?

Brokers: Spot market volatility will persist as the Harrisburg market adjusts to the ability to re-enter the market after Memorial Day weekend. Expect greater spot market rate volatility with current FreightWaves TRAC spot rates from Harrisburg to Charlotte ranging from a low of $2.47 per mile to a high of $2.99 ​​per mile. Take advantage of this opportunity to increase margins if your operator’s buying power holds up in the coming week.

Carriers: Focus on fleet availability to take advantage of higher spot rates if capacity permits. The increase in outbound tender rejections relative to volume indicates that volatility remains in the market and that not enough carriers have entered recently to drive down spot rates. This week will be important to see if volumes remain strong or continue their decline from the following months.

Senders: Focus on tender compliance and prioritize urgent shipments after Memorial Day weekend. Communication is key as many fleets will take a few days for their available truck count to cover the demand for full loads. Brokers may charge additional rates as the whole market comes out of a holiday weekend and getting drivers back on the road may take time.


Watch: Carrier Update


Route to watch: Chicago to Atlanta

Insight: Dry van spot rates have fallen sharply while intermodal shippers are expected to remain cautious about service levels.

Strong points:

  • The current dry van spot rate is $2.96/mile including fuel. That rate is down from a year-to-date high of $4.37/mile, including fuel.
  • The current door-to-door intermodal spot rate is $3.94/mile.
  • The intermodal tender rejection rate for Chicago outbound intermodal loads is 1.2% and the in-lane dry van tender rejection rate is 9.4%.

What does this mean for you?

Brokers: The rate brokers pay for on-demand capacity has gone from well above the national average at the start of the year to almost in line with the national average (currently at $2.96/mile including fuel ). As a result, brokers no longer need to make load collection in this route one of their top priorities.

Carriers: Atlanta van’s outbound tender rejection rate of 8.6% is nearly in line with the national dry van tender rejection rate. What also makes Atlanta an attractive destination for carriers is the Atlanta Van Headhaul Index of 48, which suggests it should be easy for carriers to top up in Atlanta.

Senders: The intermodal tender rejection rate, which shows that it has fallen back to a normalized level, does not indicate that shippers are getting adequate intermodal service in the lane. On the contrary, the intermodal spot rate, which remains high, indicates that carriers do not want to ship domestic intermodal containers to the Southeast unless they are destined to accommodate contract shippers. Therefore, intermodal shippers need to be wary of service levels and have contingency plans in place.


Way to watch: Jacksonville, Florida, to Nashville, Tennessee

Insight: Capacity is tightening in Jacksonville, driving higher fares in the market.

Strong points:

  • The FreightWaves TRAC spot rate from Jacksonville to Nashville increased 31 cents per mile over the past month to $2.79/mile.
  • Rejection rates rose more than 550 basis points to 18.09% from Jacksonville last week, one of the most significant increases across the country.
  • Volumes from Jacksonville continue to rise, up 1.29% w/w, to the highest level in more than six months.

What does this mean for you?

Brokers: With capacity tightening significantly in Jacksonville, out-of-market shipments will take longer. Brokers should try to keep rates at the lower end of the range between $2.44/mi and $3.10/mi, as this is where the opportunities to inflate margins lie.

Carriers: Keep upside pressure on rates out of Jacksonville as this is one of the markets where you hold bargaining power. Conditions in Nashville are deteriorating as rejection rates and volume levels decline, so charge more to enter this market.

Senders: Expect spot rates on this path to see continued upward pressure to kick off the summer months. Pushing delivery times further in advance will help secure needed capacity, but tighter capacity will force higher prices out of the market as more spot market opportunities arise for carriers.

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