Tropical Storm Imelda disrupts supply chains

Tropical Storm Imelda hit the Gulf Coast last week, bringing up to 40 inches of rain to the Houston area. Houston is the country’s #3 van market and the #1 flatbed market. Unlike Hurricane Dorian, which boosted freight movement and rates before the storm hit, the widespread flooding associated with Imelda resulted in lost productivity and lower freight volumes into and out of the region. 

In the top 100 van lanes, more lanes had falling rates than rising, but there were some bright spots. Rates increased in several western markets, including Denver, Seattle, and Los Angeles.

The price of diesel fuel is up 9¢ compared to last week, after the attacks on Saudi oil fields. The national average price for diesel remained under $3 per gallon for 5 weeks, and now it’s at $3.08. Still, that’s 19¢ lower than a year ago.

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Rising markets and lanes

Parts of the West continue to see strong volumes and increasing rates. Rates out of Denver increased an average of 6¢ per mile last week, sending freight to areas normally served by Houston. In fact, the lane from Denver to Oklahoma City saw one of the largest rate jumps last week. Seattle continues to see rising volumes, and rates there have increased more than 6% in the past month. 

  • Denver to Oklahoma City jumped 18¢ to $1.32/mi
  • Denver to Houston increased 12¢ to $1.30/mi. (Trucks were less willing to go to Houston.)
  • Seattle to Salt Lake City was up 14¢ to $2.01  

Falling markets and lanes

The effects from Hurricane Dorian continue to fade, reducing demand in some Southeastern markets. Also, the Houston market was not able to receive as much freight last week due to flooding.

  • Atlanta to Charlotte dropped 17¢ to $2.21/mi.  
  • Atlanta to Miami fell 13¢ to $2.54/mi.
  • Columbus to Buffalo slipped 12¢ to $2.74   
  • Memphis to Atlanta was also down 12¢ to $2.34/mi.