When we look at the freight market as a whole, it’s been quiet this President’s Day week.
Overall Lower Rates in Outbound Tender Rejection Index
The National Volume Index has continued to be mostly flat, with tender rejection finally breaking 8%. While this is still a low rejection rate, it’s worth calling out as the highest rejection rate so far this month.
But it’s not all quiet out there. When we zoom in to regional and local markets, there were a few surprises. Here are three we found this week:
1. Little Rock, Arkansas became a headhaul market last week with outbound shipment rates
“Headhaul markets” are defined by having more outbound shipments than inbound. That continues into this week. The area doesn’t have high market share, but there is enough volume available to strain the local capacity. Tender rejection rates are over 30%. If we look into reefer specifically, there is a real shortage with tender rejection rates nearing 70%. Because Little Rock is home to industrial and food manufacturers, it’s likely the market flipped due to fewer raw materials coming in. Raw goods come largely from China, where shippers were ramping up imports ahead of tariffs and Lunar New Year. Little Rock was likely the end destination for those raw goods.
2. Houston and Dallas-Fort-Worth have declining tender rejection rates
With tender rejection rates hovering around 4%, both cities become markets to watch. These low tender rejection would not be surprising, except for the fact that freight volume in Houston has spiked over the last few weeks to levels not seen since August of 2018. For now, carrier capacity has been able to keep up, but this is a market to watch.
3. Quincy, Illinois is the tightest market in the country with 40% rejection rate
The top Midwest markets — Joliet, Illinois; Columbus, Ohio; and Chicago — all saw reductions in tender rejections in recent days. This coincided with a decreased in volume as well. However, Quincy, Illinois is a different story with the highest tender rejection rates in the country, reaching nearly 40%. This is likely weather-related, but with warmer weather predicted over the weekend, that rate will likely fall because trucks will move into the area quickly and restore balance by early next week.
Don’t let the market surprise you
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