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.
Outbound tender volumes in Chicago continue to diminish rapidly, dropping 16% in the last 10 days while inbound tenders remain consistent. Neighboring market Joliet, Illinois, on the other hand, is on a flatline, currently seeing an actual 0.0% change week over week (w/w) in outbound volume.
The tilt in balance between outbound and inbound loads for Chicago has a direct effect on the Headhaul Index, which is on a 39% decrease w/w and currently valued at 15.0.
Capacity around Chicago is loosening significantly, evident by rejection rates in both markets being at their lowest since the start of the pandemic in 2020. Chicago’s rejections are currently at 5.5% with Joliet’s at 5.9%, both below the national average of 6.1%.
Down south, the historical backhaul market of New Orleans is experiencing a growth in outbound volumes to levels not far behind its level of inbound freight.
The Outbound Tender Volume Index for New Orleans is currently on a 26.5% increase w/w, hardly ahead of its inbound levels currently on a 25.5% increase w/w. This minor lead in outbound over inbound volume generates a stalemate in the Headhaul Index, which has remained consistent at or around its current value of minus -7.1 since July 25.
With few exceptions, the northeast mainly consists of backhaul markets. Two of the major headhaul markets in the region are Harrisburg and Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Both reflect similar patterns for inbound and outbound activity. Harrisburg saw a slight bump in outbound volume in the final week of July but has since been on a plane, causing only a 1.8% increase w/w. Meanwhile in Allentown, outbound volumes have been on a downward trend since the middle of July, falling 2.88% w/w.
However, inbound volumes for Harrisburg have been on an even steeper downward trajectory, resulting in a 27.3% increase w/w in the market’s Headhaul Index. Allentown is currently experiencing only a 5.1% growth in headhaul w/w.
Capacity in both markets remains relatively tight, with rejections well above the national average. Harrisburg’s rejection rates are currently at 8.8% with Allentown’s at 8.4%.
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.
Lane to watch: Atlanta to New Orleans
Spot rates out of Atlanta are finally reacting to the decline in rejection rates that occurred throughout July. The FreightWaves TRAC rate from Atlanta to the backhaul market of New Orleans has declined by 9 cents per mile over the past week to $3.02.
While New Orleans remains a backhaul market, increases in outbound volume make it slightly more attractive than in the past. With the spot rate 25 cents per mile higher than the national average, carriers can take advantage of this lane, especially if they can get loaded and headed back to Atlanta since the FreightWaves TRAC rate from New Orleans to Atlanta is $3.34 per mile.