For carriers, brokers and shippers looking down the road to gauge consumer demand, the latest consumer confidence data from the Conference Board indicates consumers are feeling more optimistic about the economic recovery.
Last week, two of the seven Class I Railroads announced extreme winter weather and sub-zero temperatures were impacting rail operations. From a truckload perspective, around 48% of all railcars are classified as intermodal, which competes heavily with truckload on the longer lengths of haul.
The U.S. Bank National Shipment and Spend Indexes both posted gains during the final quarter of 2020, which is a reflection of strong demand in the e-commerce, retail and single-family home construction.
Freight rates typically decrease throughout January each year, but the pace for this month does appear to be accelerating, as spot market volumes drop, contract rates rise, and overall freight volumes remain down year over year.