Freight markets often begin to slide in mid-July, and last week’s national metrics fit the normal seasonal trend. Truck posts on DAT load boards outpaced load posts last week, with more haulers back in action after some taking time off for the Fourth of July.
That’s a signal that the red-hot demand we’ve seen in recent weeks has cooled a bit, but it’s probably a stretch to call the slide a “slump.”
Hot van markets: Rates were down almost everywhere, but there were big increases in volumes out of Los Angeles, Chicago and Memphis. That could lead to more stable pricing. This is also a big week for e-commerce promotions, designed to boost sales during what’s usually the off-season for retail. In years past, that’s led to higher truckload volumes as well.
Not so hot: Last week, the biggest declines were on lanes that are closely associated with retail demand. For example, dry van shipments between Memphis and Columbus, Ohio, paid less in both directions. The biggest drop was on the lane from Columbus to Buffalo, N.Y., down 53 cents to a still-high average of $3.71 per mile.
Hot reefer markets: There were a couple bright spots. Strong volumes out of southern Idaho pushed rates higher out of Twin Falls. This year also appears to be a strong one for strawberry harvests out of Salina, Calif., just south of the San Francisco Bay Area. Blueberry harvests are also driving demand out of Elizabeth, N.J.
Not so hot: Florida is all quiet now, and rates tumbled on lanes like Lakeland to Atlanta, down to $1.49 per mile on average. Sacramento, Calif., probably hasn’t hit peak pricing yet, but prices on the lane to Denver fell back to earth last week, down 61 cents to $2.58 per mile.