Flat volumes appear to be the new normal

Much like the S&P 500, the Outbound Tender Volume Index (OTVI.USA) has not increased or decreased by more than 1.3% in any week besides the MLK holiday week.

The index currently sits at 9,634.00, which is slightly above its yearly comparable by a little more than 1%. National volumes have risen 44 basis points (bps) since our reporting last week.

As one can see from the volume index yearly change (in the chart below), volumes have been hovering at very close to flat for the better part of two months. Trucking executives this week at the Stifel Transportation & Logistics Conference were optimistic that the industry could see a pickup in both volumes and rates as the year progresses, especially as the excess capacity begins to wane.

Eight of the 15 markets FreightWaves tracks were positive on a week-over-week basis. Markets with the largest gains in OTVI.USA were Cleveland (13.1%), Fresno, California (6.8%), and Laredo, Texas (3.8%). On the downside, this week saw declines in Savannah, Georgia (-7.5%), Los Angeles (-5.3%) and Seattle (-3.6%).


Capacity appears to be stabilizing at a low level but remains loose

After peaking at 14.25% on Christmas Day, the Outbound Tender Reject Index (OTRI) has slipped to 5.56%. This week marks the first week since before Christmas that tender rejections increased. However, the increase is marginal (1.39%) and shouldn’t be seen as a sign of a tightening capacity environment. This increase is mostly derived from an increased demand for reefer capacity due to wintry weather in many regions of the country over the past week.


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