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SONAR Sightings for Aug. 12: Capacity tightens significantly in Baltimore

The highlights from Friday’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

San Fransisco

Volumes out of northern California have been on the rise in August.

San Francisco has seen a 14.2% increase in outbound volumes in the last week, and its neighboring market, Stockton, California, is up 13% since Aug. 4. Inbound volumes to San Francisco are up as well, climbing 9.6% in the last eight days.

This recent surge in outbound freight has generated a 126.3% increase in San Francisco’s Headhaul Index and it now sits at 20.2.

The Outbound Tender Reject Index for San Francisco, however, is not reacting to these tender volumes, as it has fallen 125 basis points since Aug. 3 to 5.37%. Stockton has followed suit, dropping 63 basis points to 5.35% in the same time frame. Capacity loosening while outbound volume increases in the market signals that carriers are leaning more toward contracted freight, likely due to better rates.

SONAR Tickers: OTVI.SFO, OTVI.SCK with “Dual” display


Historically a backhaul market, Baltimore is seeing the closest variance between inbound and outbound volumes since 2021.

Since the start of the month, outbound tender volumes from Baltimore are up 14.8%, while inbound volumes are down 16.3% in the same period. Inbound volumes now only exceed outbound volumes by 2.6%.

The steady escalation in outbound volumes has led to a 92.6% increase in Baltimore’s Headhaul Index to minus 3.75, its highest value all year.

This boom in outbound volumes — combined with the beginning of a protest at the Port of Baltimore — has tightened capacity immensely, sending rejection rates soaring 496 bps to 11.9%.


Grand Rapids, Michigan

In Grand Rapids, outbound volumes are in a steep dive. Since Tuesday, outbound tender volumes are down 12.8%, while inbound volumes are only down 3.1%. 

The rate in which outbound volumes have fallen faster than inbound volumes has created a significant decrease in the Headhaul Index for Grand Rapids, dropping 46.4% in only three days to 21.5.

However, capacity in Grand Rapids is loosening. Rejection rates have fallen 150 bps from their highest point in the last 90 days to 13.5% — well above the national average of 5.8%.


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

Lane to watch: Columbus, Ohio to Baltimore

Spot market rates from Columbus to Baltimore over the last three months have remained at $3.72 a mile — 97 cents above the national average. This lane has a confidence score of 4, leaving little volatility in the rates. In addition, with the recent boom in outbound freight volumes from Baltimore, carriers have a likely chance of booking a load afterward.

Market Dashboard

Watch: Carrier update

Corey Smith

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