Note: Mark Montague is on vacation.
Oddly enough, van rates rose last week. Not a lot, but you don't expect truckload rates to go up during the week before Christmas. On the other hand, we did see a spike in TL freight moves in the final days of September, at the end of the third quarter. Maybe shippers were trying to close Q4 on a high note, but didn't want to wait until this week, just in case the carriers, warehouses and receiving docks were going to be short staffed between Christmas and New Year's Day.
If that was the plan, their timing was pretty good. Snow is blanketing the East Coast and much of the Midwest today, reaching as far south as Texas. and airports are closing. Dallas had its first white Christmas since 1975, although other locales didn't see much accumulation before today. The winter storm, dubbed Euclid, brought tornadoes as well as snow, hail and ice. Hundreds of flights were canceled, stranding holiday travelers temporarily. Power outages were reported across the country, as well.
So, if you had the foresight to close Q4 last week and move your final freight of 2012 before the first flakes fell, you are probably patting yourself on the back right about now. If not, please check the weather reports and road closures, and if you must be on the road, take every precaution and stay safe.
Winter Storm Euclid dumped snow on the Northeast, Midwest, the Rockies and Northeast Texas, creating hazardous road conditions. More than a hundred flights were cancelled on one of the year's busiest days at the nation's airports, leaving thousands of holiday travelers stranded. (Details and additional images can be found at weather.com.)