Trucking markets: Volumes plummet

Truckload volumes, tender rejections and spot rates fell sharply in the past week as the combined effect of mass layoffs, the shuttering of non-essential businesses and movement restrictions took hold in the American economy.

Relative capacity and tender rejection rates may not re-test 2019 lows because of the difficulty asset-based carriers are having efficiently allocating capacity to customers with unpredictable volumes. That said, volumes are falling across most commodity types and spot markets have been cooling for two weeks now.

Dry van volumes are now up just 1% year-over-year, while reefer volumes have been able to maintain some of their strength (up 34% year-over-year, but well off peak). 

This morning a freight brokerage executive commented that “It’s as easy as ever to move freight.” 

We expect truckload volumes to pull back into negative year-over-year (y/y) territory as this week progresses.

New hospitalizations and deaths appear to be declining in major coronavirus hotspots, including Italy, Spain and New York State: that trend continuing across the United States is our best hope for a rapid economic recovery.

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