Fueled by e-commerce shipments, the freight market has shaken off any lull as national tender volumes have recovered to pre-Thanksgiving levels. This is having a significant impact on dry van rates and capacity nationwide and is resulting in market imbalance.
DAT is reporting load posts rose 54% last week while truck posts only increased by 21%. Dry van rates followed suit with rates rising on 63 of the top 100 lanes in the US. This is especially relevant in major distribution hubs such as Allentown, Pa., which is leading the national trend of e-commerce driving volume in non-major metro freight hubs. Capacity there continues to be tight.
Major metros around the country, but in particular on the East Coast — where land is scarce and prices are high — are outbound freight “dead zones.” Philadelphia, Washington D.C., New York City, and Boston (and other markets) use places like Allentown and Scranton, Pa.; Winchester, Va.; and Newburgh, N.Y. as their “freight counterparts.” Warehousing space is readily available and relatively cheap, so the big cities get their supplies (and holiday presents) from these areas.
Compared to last year, capacity is more readily available on a macro level. December 2017 brought ELD confusion, inflating rates and exposing shippers on the spot market. This year, businesses have planned their shipping strategies ahead of time to avoid transactional freight and to take advantage of primary carrier networks.
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