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SONAR Sightings: El Paso reaches 9% rejection rate; diesel prices fall below $5 per gallon

The highlights from Tuesday’s SONAR reports are below. For more information on SONAR — the fastest freight-forecasting platform in the industry — or to request a demo, click here. Also, be sure to check out the latest SONAR update, TRAC — the freshest spot rate data in the industry.

Market watch

El Paso, Texas

Rejection rates out of El Paso are swinging upward after an increase in outbound volume last week.

The Outbound Tender Volume Index in El Paso made a full recovery last week after Labor Day, reaching a three-month high before edging down 1.5 points to 47.5.

Inbound tender volumes, on the other hand, are still trending upward, rising 1.6% over the weekend. The consistent increase in inbound freight compared to the current stagnation of outbound volumes has pushed the Headhaul Index for El Paso down 8.7% to 18.2.

The increased amount of inbound capacity flooding the market creates more than enough coverage for shippers. The Outbound Tender Reject Index is up nearly 110 basis points (bps) in the last six days to 9%.

SONAR Tickers: HAUL.ELP, OTRI.ELP with “Dual” display

Atlanta

Atlanta is starting this week with an uptick in outbound freight but still remains under levels that the market was seeing at the start of the summer.

The Outbound Volume Index for Atlanta is up 1.8% at the start of the week. Meanwhile, inbound volumes are trending downward since recovering from the holiday. Inbound freight fell 3.3% in the last week, surging the Headhaul Index up 55.5% to 53.6.

“Freight out of the Southeast is definitely easier to cover than it was a couple of months ago and rates are down to nonproduce levels,” said Lucas Doyle, Business to Business Logistics carrier team lead.

Rejection rates trickled down all through August and are continuing to slide. The Outbound Tender Reject Index in Atlanta is down more than 100 bps in September to 3.5% — the lowest rejection rates since 2020.

SONAR Tickers: OTVI.ATL, OTRI.ATL with “Dual” display

NTI as a point of reference

The National Truckload Index is a daily look at how spot rates in specific lanes hold up in comparison to the national average, giving carriers and brokers an idea of which lanes to gravitate toward or avoid.

NTI Daily

Diesel prices

Diesel prices have been declining since reaching a peak on June 20 of $5.81 per gallon.

This week, the weekly retail average diesel price as calculated by the Energy Information Administration of the Department of Energy was clocked under $5 at $4.964 per gallon — the lowest price seen since April. This marks the 13th decline in the past 14 weeks.

The Diesel Truck Stop Actual Price Per Gallon of diesel marks prices just below the average at $4.963. The less that drivers are paying at the pump, the less they can bring in on fuel surcharges. This number is in direct correlation with those fuel surcharges that carriers apply to rates, so these elevated costs that shippers have been paying will likely begin to see a decline as well.
FreightWaves’ John Kingston reports a most notable point regarding the preeminent prices in California: “California’s diesel prices are falling far less than those of the U.S. as a whole. And while the EIA price for California, $6.149 a gallon, was down 1.1 cents on the week, its spread with the national price, $1.185 a gallon, is now the highest in the history of the agency’s reports going back to July 1995, when it launched California prices to complement its other reporting.”

SONAR Tickers: DOE.USA, DTS.USA

Lane to watch: Atlanta to Memphis, Tennessee

Spot market rates from Atlanta to Memphis have found a floor after falling 6 cents in the last week to $2.59 a mile. Volumes in Atlanta are moving up, and in Memphis they are remaining consistent. After bottoming out last week, outbound tender rejections in Memphis are up in the last couple of days to 4%.

This uptick in rejections is promising for carriers that can make just 4 cents less than the national average in this lane. A return trip to Atlanta can bring in 75 cents more than the national average at $3.38 a mile, but it is important to note that the return lane has a confidence score of 2, presenting a good amount of volatility in rates being offered.

Market Dashboard

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Corey Smith

Corey is a staff writer for FreightWaves covering SONAR updates. He is a graduate of the University of Memphis, majoring in supply chain management. He has experience in air, intermodal and parcel operations, as well as LTL and full truckload transportation management. He enjoys basketball, cinema and traveling.