(UPDATED NOV 20, 2018)
Fall has been relatively quiet for freight, but all signs show that retail shipments are about to kick into gear. Trucks are in high demand on the West Coast, as imports move east from the ports. Los Angeles volumes and prices are already starting to spike.
Higher load-to-truck ratios across the country also mean that shippers and brokers are having a harder time finding trucks. That’ll put pressure on prices in the coming weeks.
These are all normal trends, but there are a few other factors that have the potential to make this a busier holiday season than usual.
Moving freight during the busy holiday season? DAT load boards provide the largest and most trusted digital freight marketplace in the trucking industry, with more than 279 million loads and trucks posted annually.
UPS Freight strike
The LTL courier announced that it plans to suspend heavy shipments under threat of a work stoppage. That could lead to more on DAT load boards, with more freight spilling over into the spot market. Read more
UPDATE 11/20/2018: The strike was avoided, limiting the number of shipments moving over into the spot market.
E-commerce continues to change the traditional holiday freight season, and the new wrinkle this year is that major retailers are offering free shipments on online orders – with no minimum purchase. And with two-day delivery guarantees, “free” could end up being expensive for shippers. Read more
“Christmas holiday retail sales in the U.S. are expected to climb above the $1 trillion mark for the first time this year, on the back of low unemployment, solid income growth and higher consumer confidence.” Read more
The ELD effect
The ELD mandate went into effect on Dec. 18, 2017, so the loss in productivity hit December shipments the hardest. That led to the highest rates of 2017. While rates this holiday season might not beat the peaks from this past June, the adjustments to the more tightly enforced hours of service requirements will still be felt.