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SONAR Sightings for July 14: Northeast tender rejections rise; maritime bookings down leading into peak

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

The major markets in the Northeast experienced a rise in volume during the post-Independence Day surge but have since started a downward trajectory.

Allentown and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and Elizabeth, New Jersey, are three major headhaul markets in the Northeast region, with each holding more than 2.3% outbound tender market share in the U.S. and accounting for roughly 8.5% of overall truckload demand. Lanes out of these markets largely consist of short-haul lanes less than 250 miles. 

In Pennsylvania, both Allentown and Harrisburg saw a sharp rise in outbound volumes after the holiday but have since begun to exhibit a steep downward trend. On a two-week basis, outbound volumes in Allentown are only up 1.1% and down 0.49% in Harrisburg.

However, rejections in both markets are trending upward and well above the national average of 7.2%. Harrisburg has reached just over 10%, and Allentown is currently at 8.6% overall.

SONAR Tickers: OTRI.USA, OTRI.MDT (Harrisburg), OTRI.ABE (Allentown), OTRI.EWR (Elizabeth)

In Elizabeth, volumes and rejections have been falling simultaneously. Outbound tender volumes are only seeing a 2% rise on a two-week basis and trending downward, while rejections have lowered to 5.7%.


Within the Elizabeth market is the Port of New York and New Jersey, which is currently experiencing a decline in imports. Imported twenty-foot equivalent (TEU) volumes have dropped 47% since May, which will be reflected in outbound truckload volumes within the market in the coming months.

Container Atlas: All Ports – Port (USNYC)

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

Maritime update

As summer peak season nears, imported booking volumes do not appear to show the signs of it yet. Overall imported TEU volume to all ports within the U.S. dropped dramatically at the end of May and throughout June — and they don’t seem to be finding a floor. 

Moreover, booking volumes, which indicate import volume levels in coming weeks, are on a steep downward trend. The Ocean Booking Volume Index within SONAR’s Container Atlas has dropped 11% in the last four days alone.

Container Atlas: All Ports – Country (USA) Booking Volume Index

The summer peak season usually sees volumes boom for back-to-school clothes and supplies and preparation for the holiday season. It also might be that the new back porch needs some furniture to go along with the fire pit for the autumn nights.

Basically, imported volumes can be expected to rise this time of year, Gene Suroka, the executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, told FreightWaves maritime writer and editor Greg Miller in a recent article. But while the Port of Long Beach, at least individually, may have seen a boom in imports through June, overall imports, especially on the East Coast, are still trending downward. 

In addition, maritime lead times have dropped considerably since the end of June and currently sit at nine days. This indicates the sense of urgency to get the freight loaded and out is not near as great as previous years. July 2021 lead times were between 12 and 13 days.

Container Atlas: All Ports – Country (USA) Booking Lead Times

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.