Freight Volumes Are Up, So What About Profits?

I was recently interviewed by the Wall Street Journal about the market conditions for trucking in Q1. There’s more cargo moving through the country right now, but pricing hasn’t moved up at the same pace. The paper noted the trend, citing data from DAT and interviews with carriers like J.B. Hunt and Swift.

Shippers ramped up activity in March, according to the online freight marketplace DAT Solutions LLC. Loads available for shipment on the spot truckload market, where companies book freight transportation on a daily basis, were up 46% last month compared with February and 92% year-over-year. But spot rates for dry vans, the most common type of tractor-trailers used for consumer goods, were up only 7.2% year-over-year, according to DAT.

The paper also noted that, even though imports are up 26% year-over-year at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, uneven demand and loose capacity in other parts of the country have kept rates down.

If you follow our weekly Trendlines reports and our Rate Trend of the Week blog posts, then all of this probably sounds familiar. We’ve been following this trend for a while now.

But as I told WSJ, the second half of the year looks good for carriers. Shippers need to plan for a changing market. They don’t always pay attention to the spot market, until their accustomed carriers run short.

Stay on top of the current spot market trends with DAT RateView, which gives you the most recent and accurate lane-by-lane freight rates, based on $33 billion in real transactions between brokers, carriers, and shippers.

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