National load tender volumes (OTVI.USA) ended July and moved into August with positive numbers, posting a 208 basis points (bps) gain.
This is the second week in a row where 2019 load volumes finished higher year-over-year compared with 2018. It is also the first week the 60-day moving average moved above 2018 levels, signaling a consistent move upwards in load volumes, rather than a short-term burst of activity.
The FreightWaves basket of top freight markets all posted positive numbers this week, except for Atlanta, which finished down 81 basis points.
The largest load volumes gains were seen in inland and ocean ports. Leading the pack was Memphis, Tennessee (up 964 bps). It was followed by: Ontario, California (up 594 bps); Elizabeth, New Jersey (up 525 bps); and Miami, Florida (up 440 bps). The second-largest ocean port by volume in the U.S., Houston, Texas was little changed (up 13 bps).
“This is the beginning of the busy season for imports and holiday demand,” said FreightWaves Market Expert Henry Byers. “The pull-forward action we saw in the fourth quarter of 2018 is no longer a factor and we are seeing normal seasonal activity now. Of course, this could change depending on how the new tariff on Chinese imports plays out.” (President Trump announced additional tariffs on Chinese goods that are scheduled to take effect on September 1.)
National tender rejection rates move down while tender load volumes move up
Even as load volumes picked up in July, rejection rates continued to slide as truck capacity remained readily available in most markets. National tender rejections (OTRI.USA) slid this week from 4.21 percent down to 3.85 percent. This represents a 8.45 percent decrease.
Rejection rates by all lengths of hauls ended the week lower. The most volatile were mid-haul lanes, which dropped sharply from 5.65 percent to 4.98 percent before recovering back to 5.31 percent to finish out the week.
Flatbed rejection rates also lost ground this week, declining 96 bps from 7.03 percent to 6.13 percent. Refrigerated and dry van rejection rates remained little changed.