Weekly Freight Market Update: Are We at the Bottom?

Much of the country is still reeling from the latest hammering of winter storms. From Seattle to New York, Mother Nature has caused the only source of volatility in freight markets this week.

February volumes so far have outpaced both 2017 and 2018. DAT reports volume this year is higher, but rejections are much lower. This week, rejection rates hit 7.5% nationwide. Last year, they were closer to 25%.

There are signs, however, that the market has bottomed out. Over the past week, rejection rates have been flat. When observing the top 100 markets, we noticed rates were higher in half of those markets.

Cupid’s Impact on Freight

Valentine’s Day was on Thursday this week, and consumers spent approximately $2 billion on 250 million roses.

About 30% of all flowers sold in a year are sold on Valentine’s Day. The flowers are grown in Africa, Europe, and South America. Most enter the U.S. through Miami International Airport. They arrive on refrigerated aircraft, are transferred to refrigerated rooms at the airport, and are picked up by refrigerated trucks. Any break in the cold chain will result in a 30% – 40% reduction in flower life. This highlights how robust and important the U.S. refrigerated shipping network is, plus how much it’s relied upon to get cold and frozen goods of all types to consumers.  

In the Harrisburg market — in Hershey, Pennsylvania — reefers were loaded with Hershey’s Kisses. Volumes climbed, and — despite the winter weather —  available trucks in the market have been able to keep up.

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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.