Outbound tender volumes (OTVI.USA) fell by 0.35% year-over-year this week and now sit well off the year-to-date high of 6.78% from early October. Volumes have been in a consistent downtrend for the last several weeks. Most importantly, this week’s negative results in volumes are the second straight week of breaking a nearly three-month “winning streak” of positive volumes dating back to late July, when OTVI first crossed over to positive on July 24.
Nationally, outbound tender volumes fell 0.35% year-over-year this week. Month-over-month volumes are tracking down 3.08%, while week-over-week volumes are down 1.29%. As we enter the heart of peak season, it seems fair to now question if we are going to actually have a peak season at all. This is a stark reversal from a month ago when things were looking up, but this can be a volatile index so all is not lost yet.
On a market-by-market basis, seven of the 15 major markets FreightWaves tracks were positive on a week-over-week basis. On the upside, Memphis, Tennessee, led the way, up 13.28%, followed by Cleveland, up 7.05%, and Chicago, up 6.16%. On the downside, the worst markets week-over-week included Ontario, California, down 6.86%, Miami, down 5.65%, and Fresno, California, down 5.65%.
National rejection rates rise this week
National tender rejections now sit at 5.53%. The tender rejection story has been much slower to develop, likely a reflection of stubbornly high capacity in the market. This week actually brought positive news on this front with rejections rising 44 basis points (bps) week-over-week.
OTRI.USA briefly broke above the 6% level for the first time since March back on Sept. 17, but has since taken a noticeable step back. On a month-over-month basis, rejections are up 8 bps, while year-over-year it is down 838 bps compared to 13.84% at this time last year. On a trending basis, OTRI.USA looks good but not great, having risen in 10 out of the last 13 weeks with tender rejections rising off of the 3.75% bottom experienced in mid-August. National tender rejections have moved above their 60-day moving average by 5.13%.
Year-over-year comparables for national rejection rates are still extraordinarily difficult due to the daunting 2018 numbers in which rejections never fell below double digits. As a result, on a year-over-year percentage basis, OTRI.USA is down 60%. As can be seen in the chart below, comparisons do not start to ease until the January and February time frame in 2020.