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Michael Rudolph

Michael Rudolph is a research analyst at FreightWaves and is a former freight broker. Prior to entering the logistics industry, Michael worked in academia. He holds an MA from the University of Chicago.
Jan - 2023 -
13 January
Michael Rudolph

Freight outlook for January is grim but seasonal

Volumes have continued their recovery from the winter holiday season with a surge in pent-up freight demand unleashed into the market. Naturally, since last week’s data was affected by holiday noise, the Outbound Tender Volume Index (OTVI) faces some absurdly easy comps on a weekly basis. Even still, accepted tender volumes remain below their levels of 2021 and ’22 for the time being. 

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06 January
Michael Rudolph

Freight markets stir after holiday slumber

For all intents and purposes, the month of December has only three weeks of freight activity, as the final week from Christmas to New Year’s is effectively null. In years prior, freight demand has fallen throughout the month before bottoming out in that final week. So far, December looks to be following seasonal trends, which is to say that, while shippers’ activity is winding down, this movement is not alarming by itself. Rather, the gap in freight demand between 2022 and ’21 (or even ’20) is the main symptom of current ailments.

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Dec - 2022 -
16 December
Michael Rudolph

Current trends give a sneak peek into weak 2023

For all intents and purposes, the month of December has only three weeks of freight activity, as the final week from Christmas to New Year’s is effectively null. In years prior, freight demand has fallen throughout the month before bottoming out in that final week. So far, December looks to be following seasonal trends, which is to say that, while shippers’ activity is winding down, this movement is not alarming by itself. Rather, the gap in freight demand between 2022 and ’21 (or even ’20) is the main symptom of current ailments.

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09 December
Michael Rudolph

Contract market contracts, squeezing larger carriers

Contrary to popular opinion, December is not a peak season for freight. True, the freight that needs to be moved in this month typically has greater urgency than usual, which does put upward pressure on carrier rates. But peak truckload volumes are largely influenced by maritime imports, which historically peak between July and September.

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02 December
Michael Rudolph

Freight markets are feeling an early freeze

Historically, November is the month in which maritime imports begin to move inland for their final push before the holiday shopping season. Yet such imports were lost at sea this year, failing to materialize during ocean shippers’ peak season. This one-two punch of weakened import volumes and overstocked retail inventories means that carriers are left with fewer opportunities to source freight.

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Nov - 2022 -
18 November
Michael Rudolph

Holiday gains are nowhere in sight

Historically, November is the month in which maritime imports begin to move inland for their final push before the holiday shopping season. Yet such imports were lost at sea this year, failing to materialize during ocean shippers’ peak season. This one-two punch of weakened import volumes and overstocked retail inventories means that carriers are left with fewer opportunities to source freight.

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11 November
Michael Rudolph

Middling markets show no signs of peaking

Since the pandemic started, many shippers found their existing contracts unable to ensure carrier compliance. Supply and demand were especially volatile, and so spot rates, which are more sensitive to changing market conditions, handily outpaced contract rates.

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Oct - 2022 -
28 October
Michael Rudolph

Carriers get their freight frights just in time

Since the pandemic started, many shippers found their existing contracts unable to ensure carrier compliance. Supply and demand were especially volatile, and so spot rates, which are more sensitive to changing market conditions, handily outpaced contract rates.

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14 October
Michael Rudolph

Carriers’ pricing leverage suffers a harsh blow

Since the pandemic started, many shippers found their existing contracts unable to ensure carrier compliance. Supply and demand were especially volatile, and so spot rates, which are more sensitive to changing market conditions, handily outpaced contract rates.

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Sep - 2022 -
30 September
Michael Rudolph

Freight markets see little change this week

Since the pandemic started, many shippers found their existing contracts unable to ensure carrier compliance. Supply and demand were especially volatile, and so spot rates, which are more sensitive to changing market conditions, handily outpaced contract rates.

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