Weekly Freight Market Update: Green Shoots and Green Beer

After a frozen February, the freight market is thawing. Volume spiked this week across the country, reaching levels not seen since the pre-holiday rush. Most of this volume was driven by the West Coast ports coming back online after the Lunar New Year pause — but green shoots are appearing across the market.

The West is largely responsible for pulling the market out of the winter doldrums. Up and down the Californian coast, volume is up, which has been a consistent trend since the beginning of 2019. This week, Los Angeles’ volume hit its highest level since FreightWaves SONAR recording began in 2018.

Volume reaching pre-holiday levels this week. Source: FreightWaves SONAR

Even with all the additional freight, rejection rates remain low, hovering around 2%.

Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia are also showing glimmers of life with rejection rates coming out of the basement, reaching about 5% this week for the first time in the past few weeks.

A sub-plot of 2018 was the record-breaking levels of new truck sales. The impact of all those trucks in the market has been clear so far this year, and rejection rates are staying historically low. Rejection rates across the country continue to hover around 8%, even with additional volume coming in. As a comparison, rejection rates were closer to 25% this time last year.

Get out ahead of St. Patrick’s Day

For beverage shippers and carriers, major summer holidays always stress the freight network’s available supply. But the highest consumption day in the U.S. for beer enjoyed outside the home is just around the corner.

According to the National Beer Wholesalers Association, St. Patrick’s Day is the biggest “on-premise” alcohol consumption day, and it falls on the weekend this year.

Breweries, biergartens, and pubs alike are preparing to keep steins full of dark stouts and green-dyed lagers. Look for an increase in shipments if you regularly haul beer. If you’re a shipper hoping to get the brew off your dock, be sure to tender over shipments early to secure capacity.

See what’s happening where you ship

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Damien Hutchins
Damien Hutchins is Senior Manager of Convoy's brokerage team, when he's not writing on the state of the freight market. He has held previous roles at tech startups in various industries over the past 15 years and focuses now on logistics and trucking from his hometown of Seattle. In his free time Damien can be found exploring in the Cascade Mountains, or taking long weekend road trips on his adventure motorcycle.