Weekly Freight Roundup: Carriers Are Repositioning Themselves

After steady growth over the last few weeks, the national outbound volume index gains have started to slow. Historically, the U.S. freight market experiences a plateau heading into the end of January, as the backlog of shipments that sat during the holidays is depleted and Chinese New Year approaches.

Even with the increase in shipments, the available trucks have been able to keep pace. The high number of trucks in the market and low tender rejection rate (8.2%) means carriers are looking for all available shipments to keep their fleets rolling in fiscally advantageous markets.

Take Los Angeles, for instance. Rejection rates in the area are near 3%, a record low. The previous record for lowest rejection rate was 7%, which was set in April 2018.

The number of trucks in the Los Angeles market is also at an all-time high — at 140% of the baseline this week — as capacity arrives to take advantage of the current hottest head-haul metro.

After the holidays, many carrier fleets were positioned wherever drivers lived. Over the last few weeks, carriers have been competing for loads to reposition their equipment, and we’ve seen the Truck in Market index show that capacity is now spiking in the highest-volume head-haul markets, signalling the beginning of the market balance. Additionally, diesel prices are down to a 12-month low, and some carriers can afford to reduce operating costs and rates to compete for shipments.

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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.