It’s only two weeks into the second quarter, and the volume demands within the North American truckload market resemble the peak demands of July Fourth. This time last year, the spot market rate per mile was $1.75; now, those rates are more than $3 per mile, with tenders up 24% over pre-COVID market levels. These elevated rates and elevated demands are creating network imbalances.
“Carriers are avoiding undesirable lanes right now,” said Mike Rothacher, vice president of strategic accounts for AIT Worldwide Logistics, in an interview with FreightWaves’ Andrew Cox. “They’re focusing on higher volume and larger markets, which is causing an equipment shortage and spike in price for customers seeking loads out of smaller markets.”
Rothacher doesn’t envision capacity loosening and rates decreasing anytime soon with the surging headhaul pricing into seaport cities, as well as the prolonged West Coast capacity constraints brought on by produce season. While the Suez Canal blockage may postpone diminished congestion, vaccinations are helping bolster port workforces. Rothacher has four recommendations for shippers, one of which is to select a truckload provider with a strong network and the ability to leverage multiple modes.
“SEL [Summit Expedited Logistics] is a wholly owned subsidiary of AIT Worldwide Logistics,” said Rothacher. “We have the ability to toggle to other modes, such as intermodal, consolidations and other freight forwarding services when truck capacity remains tight. Regardless of the market conditions, SEL is poised to provide cost-effective solutions for our clients.”