COVID-19 has dealt a heavy blow to trucking companies. With large swaths of the economy closed, demand for truckload shipments has plummeted, and carriers have found themselves on the wrong side of a supply and demand imbalance.
Recent news has been all about the downturn in freight volumes, and the lower rates that accompany smaller volumes. Whenever freight markets go soft, we analysts like to look at changes that can help pull us out of the current pattern. In the midst of much gloom about the freight marketplace, we look for some positives that can help us through the next couple of months.
COVID-19 has become one of the most disruptive events to hit supply chains in our lifetime, and the DAT Analytics team is publishing regular reports to track its impact on freight markets. See what's new this week.
Freight rates are weak right now, as everyone in the industry is painfully aware. But while poring over the data in DAT RateView and reading reports from many industry analysts, I found encouraging news.
Coronavirus is getting a lot of attention, but it didn't have much impact on domestic freight in the U.S. at first. If the slowdown in Chinese exports continues beyond the end of February, however, the effects could ripple through worldwide supply chains and reduce demand for freight transportation here.
The spot market continued to grow in 2019, even when compared to a banner year like 2018. Truckload volumes grew significantly in 2019, but so did capacity. That kept prices well below the historic highs of 2018, but it did reshape some of the top markets we're accustomed to seeing on these year-end lists.