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SONAR Sightings for Aug. 18: Outbound volume in Baltimore takes a dive; Detroit continues to see record highs

The highlights from Thursday’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


Outbound volumes in Baltimore are diving like Edgar Allan Poe’s raven. Since Aug. 14, outbound tender volumes are down 13.5% and still headed south. Inbound tenders, however, are up 4% this week, fitting for Baltimore’s backhaul history, driving the Headhaul Index down 347.8% to minus-33.14.

Rejection rates were at a high of 12%, but the recent decrease in outbound volume has knocked it down roughly 475 basis points to 7.3% — indicating there is now more trucking capacity than actual freight to move.



In the Motor City, outbound volumes continue to reach record highs. The Outbound Tender Volume Index for Detroit leaped 11.2% overnight to 277.86 — its highest value on record since 2018. Meanwhile, inbound volumes jumped 8.5% overnight as well. The Headhaul Index for Detroit has been on a steady climb all month, increasing 57% since the beginning of August to minus-18.63.

Since inbound volume levels remain above outbound volumes, capacity is loosening. Rejection rates dropped 75 bps in the last 24 hours to 6%, signaling that more inbound carriers are entering the market.



In Ohio, outbound volumes have taken a nosedive this week. The Outbound Tender Volume Index for Cincy has decreased 11.5% since Aug. 14. Inbound volumes are following the trend by falling 8% in the same time frame. The decrease in both inbound and outbound volume flows in Cincinnati has cast the Headhaul Index down 41.5% to 26.6.

Only 100 miles away in Columbus, outbound volumes are flat like the corn country landscape that surrounds it. The Outbound Tender Volume Index for Columbus remains at the same value it was at the beginning of August.

Capacity in Cincinnati is tightening, however, evident by rejection rates rising roughly 80 bps in the past couple of days to surpass the national average at 5.9%.


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: Detroit to Philadelphia

Outbound volumes in Detroit are at record highs — and so are outbound tenders in Philadelphia. In addition, spot market rates from Detroit to Philly remain consistently elevated well above the national average at $3.58 a mile. Outbound volumes in Philadelphia are up 28.5% so far in August, presenting ample opportunity for carriers to make 87 cents above the national average for spot rates with a very likely chance of booking a load at the end of the road.

Market Dashboard

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.