SONAR helps subscribers keep ahead of coronavirus

COVID-19 will be one of the most impactful things to happen to the freight economy in many decades. With the situation changing by the minute, it is imperative to stay up to date with changes on the ground.

Here is a quick guide that SONAR users can use to track developments in the market. The majority of the datasets are driven off electronic data (load tender requests, ELDs, customs, or rail car movements).

HAUL – Headhaul Index: Outbound volumes less inbound volumes. Markets with positive values are reducing truck supply faster than it can be replenished, also known as a “headhaul market.” Some markets (like Florida for example) are generally the opposite of this with inbound exceeding outbound; therefore they are backhaul markets. Positive movements equal increasing upward rate pressure. 

ITRI – Inbound Tender Rejection Index: The rate at which carriers are rejecting inbound loads. Increasing values indicate carriers are avoiding the area and may lead to increased rate pressure. 

OTRI – Outbound Tender Rejection Index: The rate at which carriers are rejecting outbound loads from a market. Increasing rejection rates correlate with higher spot rates. 

ITVI – Inbound Tender Volume Index: An index measuring the amount of inbound volume for a market. 

OTVI – Outbound Tender Volume Index: An index measuring the amount of outbound freight volume for a market. The higher the number the greater the demand for trucks. spot rates and volume: provides truckload spot rates, across reefer trucking, van trucking, and flatbed trucking. In addition, you can find out the relative volume on a given lane. 

TSTOPFR – 7-Day Flatbed All-in Rate

TSTOPFV – 7-Day Flatbed Volume Index

TSTOPRR – 7-Day Reefer All-in Rate

TSTOPRV – 7-Day Reefer Volume Index

TSTOPVR – 7-Day Van All-in Rate

TSTOPVV – 7-Day Van Volume Index

(Photo credit: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

WAIT – Wait times: The average amount of time a truck is waiting at a facility to get loaded or unloaded. These are broken down by facility type such as airports or railyards, industry sectors such as auto manufacturers, and markets. Increased wait times are indicative of congestion, especially in times of surging volumes as we are seeing now. 

ORAIL – Outbound container volumes moving on the rail. These are broken down by market, container size, and loaded and empty volumes. International container volumes (20 and 40-foot) are heavily tied to imports. 

The following are some of the more useful measures in seeing the current freight flows in the U.S.: 

IRAIL – Inbound container volumes on the rail. 

ORIALL – Loaded outbound containers on the rail

IRAILL – Loaded inbound containers on the rail

ORAILDOM – Outbound domestic containers on the rail- 48 and 53 foot containers

ORAILINT – Outbound international containers on the rail – 20, 40, and 45-foot containers

CSTM – Daily import shipments that cleared U.S. customs. These are broken down by country and lane (port to port) reported on a weekly lag. Monitoring the amount of shipments entering the U.S. will give insight into how quickly international production levels are recovering and thus how fast the U.S. inventory levels are being replenished. 

LMI – Logistics Manger’s Index – A compilation of monthly indexes based on survey data that measure inventory costs (INVC), inventory levels (INVL), transportation capacity (TPCP), transportation prices (TPPR), transportation utilization (TPUT), warehousing capacity (WHCP), warehousing prices (WHPR), and warehousing utilization (WHUT). Values over 50 indicate expansion, while values under 50 indicate contraction.