Spot freight market demand eases toward equilibrium

Looking at recent trends, there has been a slow but steady easing in spot market freight volume since April. This was corroborated by the ATA For-Hire Truck Tonnage Report for July, which showed a 5% decline in tonnage, not seasonally adjusted. Bob Costello, Chief Economist at the American Trucking Associations (ATA), predicts that tonnage will increase moderately in the second half of 2010.

Meanwhile, spot market rates for vans and reefers are flat, and rates for flatbeds are declining, as summer wanes. Demand was extraordinarily high in Q2, and capacity was tight, so rates were higher than seasonal norms for all equipment types. The market may be on the way to recovering its equilibrium now.

Compared to July 2009, last month’s tonnage was 6% higher, and spot market load volume was 128% higher — that’s more than double the number of loads, year over year.