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SONAR Sightings for Aug. 16: Lexington, Kentucky, reaches highest headhaul score on record

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

Lexington, Kentucky

Both inbound and outbound volumes are on the rise in the “Horse Capital of the World.” Lexington’s outbound tenders are up 33.6% since Aug. 8, and inbound loads are up 24.3% in the same time frame. 

Lexington is usually a backhaul market, but in 2022 it’s become more of a headhaul market. Outbound tender volumes gained the upper hand in March and currently exceed inbound loads by 37.3%. 

The recent increase in outbound volumes swung the Headhaul Index for Lexington up 224% to 20.8 since Aug. 8, reaching its highest point on record since 2018. However, capacity loosened and pushed outbound tender rejections down 75 basis points to 5.2%, indicating there is enough inbound capacity to handle the outflow of volume.


Jacksonville, Florida

Further south in the Sunshine State, outbound tenders took a tumble while inbound volume levels are ticking up. 

In the last week, outbound tender volumes fell 14% while inbound loads increased by 7.2%, placing outbound volumes above inbound for the first time since April. The tilt in the balance of power between inbound and outbound volumes generated a steep decrease in Jacksonville’s Headhaul Index, dropping 104.4% to a value of minus-1.3 since Aug. 10.

Tender rejections, however, did not react, remaining at 7.8%, but are headed in an upward trajectory.


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: Chicago to Lexington

Outbound volume from Chicago has remained stagnant so far in August, and carriers looking for a way out should keep their eyes open for anything going to Kentucky. Spot market rates from Chicago to Lexington are consistent throughout the month of August so far, but with the recent surge in volume from Lexington, that may be subject to change.

Right now, carriers can bring in 86 cents more than the national average in only one transit day, and the boom in outbound volume from Lexington proves a likely chance of booking a load after the job is done.

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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.