Truckload Rates May Not Trend Down for Long

Rates are drifting down, which is typical for this time of year. July is a time of transition. After Independence Day, the berries, watermelons and patriotic merchandise have been delivered and consumed, the growing season comes to an end in Florida, South Texas and Southern California, and marketplace pressure recedes. Indeed, rates have been declining gradually for vans and reefers since July 5th, and flatbed rates finally began to slip last week.

This pattern is likely to continue for a few more weeks, and then I'm betting we will see a second peak in late August through much of September. Of course, freight availability and rates could plateau instead, but a number of recent news items fuel my sense of optimism.

The evidence? Economic conditions are improving, as indicated by an estimated 4% GDP growth in the second quarter. Imports are up, generating additional freight. Job growth has been fairly steady for the past six months, and there has been a strong upward trend in manufacturing. As a result, rail carloads and for-hire truck tonnage both rose in June.

Those indicators, among others, support an improvement in consumer confidence, which is at its highest level since October 2007, according to the Conference Board. That is just the kind of news that encourages retailers to expand inventories, anticipating a busy Christmas season. We will start to see the impact on truckload volume within a few weeks.

Keep up with the trends in your lanes by digging into analytics on DAT RateView, and then get in on the action with DAT Load Boards. I've worked in the transportation and logistics industry for decades, and I have never seen such a robust set of tools, jam-packed with actionable information that can help your business make money. Call today for a demo: 800-551-8847.



Mark Montague

Mark Montague recently retired as DAT's Industry Pricing Analyst. Mark worked for DAT for more than a decade and was instrumental in developing the spot market rates database and analysis tools in DAT RateView. Prior to joining DAT, Mark applied his expertise in logistics, rates and routing as a logistics manager and analyst for carriers, 3PLs and shippers. Mark holds an MBA in Transportation Management from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business.