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SONAR Sightings for July 19: Philadelphia’s Headhaul Index goes against the grain

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

Philadelphia has largely been more of a consumer center, historically speaking, compared with surrounding markets such as Allentown, Pennsylvania. The inbound and outbound tenders in Philadelphia generally move in correlation with each other, dropping and rising simultaneously, but in recent days have shown a contradictory pattern.

The split began on July 12, and outbound tender volumes have risen 4.8% since then. Inbound tenders, on the other hand, have decreased 7.7% in the same period. This change generates an increase in the overall Headhaul Index for the Philadelphia market — currently valued at 23.62, a 21.1% increase week over week.

An increase in outbound volumes is almost synonymous with a rise in tender rejections. Rejection rates out of Philadelphia have risen to 8% currently, with a steep upward trajectory. Capacity begins to tighten to cover the escalated outbound volume, placing upward pressure on spot rates leaving the market.


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: Atlanta to Philadelphia

It is no secret that Atlanta is a major distribution hub for the East Coast, and though volume has become increasingly volatile since a large spike in June, it does continue to pour out of the market. Rejections remain above the national average but have dropped in recent days to 7.5% overall.

As stated above, Philadelphia is currently seeing more outbound volume than inbound volume, so if you’re a carrier looking for a well-paying lane with a chance of booking another after the job is done, keep your eyes open for anything heading into Pennsylvania.

Currently paying 65 cents more than the national average, the average spot market rates in this lane have remained above $3 per mile so far this year — due to the backhaul nature of Philadelphia — and still appear to be trending in that direction.

Now that capacity has tightened out of Philadelphia, placing upward pressure on spot rates coming out, carriers can use this to their advantage when booking a load to keep themselves loaded and rolling.

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.