Volumes flat as trucking fundamentals wane

The Outbound Tender Volume Index (OTVI.USA) has continued its horizontal trajectory below its March 2018 starting point of 10,000 since it recovered from its New Year’s trough.

The index currently sits at 9,591.97, which is flat with 2018. National volumes have fallen by 1.2% since our reporting last week. At this point in the year, it is important to dissect our Outbound Tender Volume Index into its two largest components: van and reefer volumes.

Van volumes in 2020 are almost identical to 2019 at this point (up 0.8%), but they had been slightly up in the low-single-digit range for the past three weeks. A different story is visible when analyzing reefer volumes. Reefer volumes had been up in double digits on a yearly basis for all of January but have fallen in the past two weeks. Reefer volumes are now up 6% year-over-year. However, with inclement weather headed for a few major West Coast markets, reefer volumes are likely to pick up in the next week.

Six of the 15 markets FreightWaves tracks were positive on a week-over-week basis. Markets with the largest gains in OTVI.USA were Savannah, Georgia (16.8%), Los Angeles (5.91%) and Cleveland (5.85%). On the downside, this week saw declines in Seattle (-7.29), Chicago (-3.82%) and Memphis, Tennessee (-2.27%).


Capacity continues to loosen

After peaking at 14.25% on Christmas Day, the Outbound Tender Reject Index (OTRI) has slipped to 5.53%. This is four straight weeks of declining tender rejections off the peak. The index has now given back most of the peak season bump and has fallen further into negative territory compared to this time in 2019. The index has slipped below the 2019 average of 6.19%. We expected the decline over the past two weeks as reefer rejections tumbled. It is possible the index gets a slight boost from the wintry weather battering many large markets on the West Coast in the coming days.


For more information on the FreightWaves Freight Intel Group, please contact Kevin Hill at khill@freightwaves.com, Seth Holm at sholm@freightwaves.com or Andrew Cox at acox@freightwaves.com.

Check out the newest episode of the Freight Intel Group’s podcast here.