Weekly Report 10 – 03/09/2022
Spot volume edges higher as rates hold basically flat
For the third straight week, stronger flatbed load postings offset most of or all the volume weakness in van segments. Total load postings in the system edged up 1.2% during the week ended March 4 (week 9). Dry van loads have fallen in each of the past three weeks while refrigerated volume was down in two of those weeks, gaining a mere 0.1% in week 8. Total spot rates saw a tiny gain during the week, and the market was far less stressed due to a sharp increase in truck postings.
Volume weakness was centered in the Midwest, which saw a 5.7% decline week over week. All other regions posted gains in total volume, led by the South Central region at an 8.6% increase. After posting a negative year-over-year comparison in week 8 for the first time since July 2020, total spot market volume was once again higher than year-earlier levels. However, dry van volume was still down year over year, and refrigerated volume was just barely above year-earlier levels. If total volume were to hold flat at week 9 levels it would remain slightly positive year over year into early April.
Total Market demand index
Truck postings jumped 29.1%, which is a very large increase in a week that does not follow a holiday-impacted week. The Market Demand Index – the ratio of loads to trucks in the system – fell sharply to its lowest level since before the holidays. The MDI, which was lower in all segments, is still above levels seen last fall but otherwise is the lowest since early 2021.
Dry Van Spot Loads
Dry van load postings decreased 4.0% after falling 4.3% during the prior week. Load availability was up in the Southeast and South Central regions but down elsewhere. Dry van volume was about 8% below the level posted in the same 2021 week but was about 84% above the five-year average.
Refrigerated Spot Loads
Refrigerated volume declined 1.4% after edging up just 0.1% during the previous week. As with dry van, loads were up in the Southeast and South Central regions but down elsewhere. Refrigerated volume was just 0.5% above the same 2021 week but nearly double the five-year average.
Flatbed Spot Loads
Flatbed load postings increased 4.1% after rising 12.3% during the prior week. Load availability was down in the Midwest but rose in all other regions week over week. Flatbed load postings were nearly 17% higher than the same week last year and about 135% above the five-year average.
Total Spot Rates
Spot rates are holding steady overall with a net change of just a half-cent over the past four weeks. In the latest week, total spot rates edged three-tenths of a cent higher. Fuel costs continue to bolster rates. We estimate that rates excluding fuel have declined week over week in all but one week in 2022. Flatbed rates were up nearly 3 cents, but refrigerated rates fell about 9 cents while dry van rates were down about 2 cents. Percentage comparisons year over year are now in single digits for the van markets. Flatbed rates were about 17% higher than the same 2021 week.