<p>Everyone wants to help out in a time of emergency, and truckers are some of the most charitable and compassionate people I know. So a lot of owner-operators looked for opportunities to haul emergency supplies to Houston and other areas hit by Hurricane Harvey in 2017.</p>
Rates typically decline on Tuesdays, because a higher percentage of trucks are returning from trips that started on Sunday or Monday. Whether you're a carrier or a broker, see how you can take advantage of Backhaul Tuesday.
<p>Current trends in freight can be explained by looking at the top ten contract markets by percentage of contract-spot mix. For the last six weeks, rates have been sliding on the spot market despite strong volumes. The culprit may well be weakness in contract markets in the Southwest region.</p>
Spot market freight veterans know that by mid-January we start to see freight volumes and rates trending down as the urgency of the holidays—even the most recent ones extended by e-commerce—wanes. 2017 is no exception, although this year we're climbing down from a higher starting point.
Across the country, load-truck ratios are rocketing up in areas that produce and ship Christmas trees, with ratios as high as 500 loads per truck. Demand for trucks is insanely high in some markets that are usually quiet, including Spokane, Medford, Missoula, Saginaw, Eau Claire and Duluth.
In the first week of November, 64 region-to-region pairs had a rate increase of at least 6 cents per mile. The biggest rate increases were on lanes that originated in the West, heading to destinations along the East Coast.
Reefer volumes were mostly in a holding pattern to close the month, similar to the last full week of October for vans. But there was much more regional movement with refrigerated freight, which could signal a pre-Thanksgiving push.
I'd advise shippers not to get complacent about transportation costs. The recent bankruptcy of Hanjin Shipping combined with extreme U.S. weather may impact both the spot and contract markets in the next several weeks. Here's what we're seeing.
It's heartbreaking to see the news feeds and images from flood zones in and around Baton Rouge, LA. Dozens of people have lost their lives, and thousands have lost their homes, businesses and possessions. For now, what is needed is disaster relief. Many truckers have responded, bringing in food, clean water and emergency supplies. It won't surprise anyone to learn that rates rose sharply on inbound lanes heading into Southern Louisiana last week, especially from Shreveport.