Rocky Mountain Trucking LLC

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Market Watch for Oct. 14:

Southern California

Volumes out of Southern California are continuing to pick up leading into the weekend after reaching their lowest levels in two years earlier this week.

Atlanta passed Ontario, California, for the most market share by outbound volume on Sept. 25 and still currently holds 3.8%, but the recent uptick in volume from Southern California has brought Ontario’s share back up to 3.7%.

The Outbound Tender Volume Index for Ontario climbed 16.5 points, or 6.6%, this week to 425.9. While it is good to see some increasing volumes coming from Southern California, levels remain 23% lower than at this time last month.

Dwell times at the Port of LA are down to 3.5 days — their lowest since August 2020 — and U.S. customs maritime import shipments ready to hit the surface transportation market in LA are up 68.6% since Monday. The increasing amount of cargo being unloaded at the port of LA generated a 2% increase in outbound truckload demand in Los Angeles in the same time period. However, it is important to note that the Port of Long Beach is seeing a decreasing amount of imported container volume this week, dropping 19.3% on Wednesday.

Capacity tightened immensely during the suppressed volume levels last week, rising to 4% rejection rates, but the increased outbound freight this week pushed rejection rates downward. Since Monday, the Outbound Tender Reject Index for both the LA and Ontario markets is down 134 basis points to 2.5%.


Columbus, Ohio

Outbound demand from Columbus increased sharply leading into the weekend after a week of decline.

The Outbound Tender Volume Index for Columbus jumped 23 points, or 11%, on Thursday to 237.4 — roughly the value it has been since late July. Columbus hasn’t experienced much change in the past few months, only seeing a 0.65% increase in outbound volume on a two-week basis.

Inbound volumes, on the other hand, have been volatile in recent months. The Inbound Tender Volume Index is up almost 5 points Friday but down almost 16 points since the start of the month, resulting in an 8.2% decrease in inbound volume on a two-week basis.

Capacity is effectively auto-accepting contracted freight, as the Outbound Tender Reject Index dropped 67 bps since Tuesday to 4.5%.


Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Outbound volumes in two major headhaul markets in the Northeast have been trickling downward consistently for the past month.

Harrisburg has seen a decrease in outbound demand by 17.6% since Sept. 14 and is still pointing in a downward trajectory heading into the weekend. Harrisburg’s neighboring market, Allentown, Pennsylvania, is experiencing the same trend, with outbound volumes dropping 14.4% since this time last month.

The steady decrease in outbound volume brought rejection rates in both markets down to two-year lows. The Outbound Tender Reject Index in Harrisburg dipped to 6.1% while Allentown’s hit 5.5%, as capacity settled into contracted freight to secure loads. Harrisburg saw a slight increase in rejections Friday, indicating that carriers may be trying to push rates up.


NTI as a point of reference

The National Truckload Index is a daily look at how spot rates in specific lanes hold up in comparison to the national average, giving carriers and brokers an idea of which lanes to gravitate toward or avoid.

NTI Daily

Lane to watch: Harrisburg to Columbus

Spot market rates from Harrisburg to Columbus are still where they were at the start of the week at $2.39 a mile — 26 cents below the national average. Outbound demand in Harrisburg is on a steady downward trend, and taking a relatively lower rate here can help put carriers into a market that is seeing increased outbound volume.

A return trip to Harrisburg is offering a much more elevated rate of $3.57 a mile, and since rejection rates out of Columbus are trending down, these rates may only decrease going forward if rejections continue to drop.

Market Dashboard

Watch: Carrier update