Most of the year the Atlanta market has dominated the freight market in terms of outbound load volume. Since March 1st Atlanta’s OTMS value has averaged 4.57%, the largest market in the country. Until October that title has been relatively unchallenged. The Ontario, California market now has the edge over Atlanta as its OTMS value now sits at 4.63% of the total outbound load volume in the U.S. Atlanta has 4.51% of the U.S. volume.
Over the past month national load volumes have been declining and flat. Atlanta had a slow start to the month of October by dropping to a 4.02% market share value. It then recovered to 4.76% before settling in around the current level.
The Ontario market started off the month with an OTMS value of 3.98% and has been climbing steadily to its current position. The market encompasses the eastern portion of Los Angeles and extends into the imperial valley where there are many railheads and warehouses. The western ports have been overloaded with inbound containers from China, and this is a large factor in why we are seeing this changing of the guard.
Many of the intermodal shipments that land at other ports around the U.S. are regional. This means most of the freight that enters the ports of Newark and Miami and Houston only travel under 200 miles to destination. The freight entering the U.S. in the Los Angeles ports travels across the country. The reason, other than it being one of the first stops for the ships, is that the infrastructure is there to handle the volume and transloading. There is also a heavy rail presence.
Shippers have been struggling to find capacity in the area in the last few weeks. Atlanta shippers have had little to no issue finding trucks as volume has remained consistent. It will be interesting to see if trucks flock to the West coast over the next few weeks leaving some other areas of the country exposed. Southern California freight typically has more miles and is therefore higher revenue making it more enticing to the dedicated driver who wants to make some extra money for the holidays.
The balance of capacity in the U.S. freight market has never been more tenuous than over the past year. Monitoring shifts in load balance across the country can provide one of the earliest warning signs for diminished capacity.
About Indices presented in this article
(SONAR: OTMS.ONT, OTMS.ATL)Outbound Tender Market Share – Ontario, Atlanta. Outbound Tender Market Share is a relative index that assigns a percentage value to each market in relation to the total U.S. outbound load volume. For example: If there were 100 outbound loads in the U.S. on November 10th and Atlanta had 5 outbound loads then the OTMS.ATL would be 5%.
About Chart of the Week
The FreightWaves Chart of the Week is a chart selection from SONAR that provides an interesting data point to describe the state of the freight markets. A chart is chosen from thousands of potential charts on SONAR to help participants visualize the freight market in real-time. Each week the Sultan of SONAR will post a chart, along with commentary live on the front-page. After that, the Chart of the Week will be archived on FreightWaves.com for future reference.
SONAR aggregates data from hundreds of sources, presenting the data in charts and maps and providing commentary on what freight market experts want to know about the industry- in real time.
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