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SONAR Sightings: Southern California rejections remain below 3%; Houston imports fall

The highlights from Monday’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 for Sept. 26

Ontario, California

Rejections are rising steadily as truckload volume declines out of Southern California.

Even though import share for the West Coast ports is at its lowest since the early 1980s, Ontario still holds the most market share of outbound truckload volume with 4%. However, the truckload market is not completely unscathed from the drop in imports.

Freight volumes leaving from Ontario are trending down in the second half of September after reaching a six-month high. The Outbound Tender Volume Index is down 12.8% in the last week to the lowest value since earlier this year, when the ports were experiencing large numbers of ships backlogged.

Rejection rates are up 19 basis points (bps) since last week but are currently only at 2.7%. This marks the third time this year that the Outbound Tender Reject Index for Ontario is below 3%.

SONAR Tickers: OTVI.ONT, OTRI.ONT with “Dual” display

Greensboro, North Carolina

On the East Coast, outbound volumes in Greensboro, North Carolina, are reaching yearly highs.

Since Sept. 19, outbound tender volumes from Greensboro are up 54.7%, bringing the Outbound Tender Volume Index to 92.5 — the highest it has been since November 2021.

This prodigious increase has pushed outbound levels to exceed inbound volumes for the first time since February by 28%. The variance between the two moved the Headhaul Index for Greensboro up 819% in only a week to 20.3 — the highest value since February 2021.

However, even though inbound capacity is well below the amount of outbound demand, rejection rates are declining. This is likely due to carriers effectively auto-accepting freight. The Outbound Tender Reject Index is down 130 bps since last Wednesday to 3.7%.

“We’ve seen rates trickle downward for shipments out of North Carolina over the past two to three weeks. Rates, into the Midwest specifically, have fallen while regional shipments have stayed relatively flat,” said Dylan Dameron, vice president of operations at Axle Logistics. “Import volume to Virginia and North Carolina will be a big indicator for regional rates/capacity during Q4.”



Freight volumes leaving Houston are declining steadily to their lowest levels since June.

In the last week, the Outbound Tender Volume Index in Houston has dropped 53 points, or 14%, to 325.6 — its lowest value in three months. The decrease has caused outbound tenders to dip below the amount of inbound volumes by 5.3%, plunging the Headhaul Index down 48 points to -18.3.

The significant decrease in truckload volumes coincides with a sharp decrease in imports to Port Houston that took place last week. After setting record numbers in the month of August, U.S. customs maritime import shipments on Sept. 19 dropped nearly 22%.

The steady decline in volumes is continuing to loosen capacity. Since the drop on Sept. 19, the Outbound Tender Reject Index is down 90 bps to 3.8% — the lowest value since April 2020.

SONAR Tickers: CSTM.HOU, OTRI.HOU with “Dual” display

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: Houston to Dallas

Spot market rates from Houston to Dallas bottomed out earlier this month at $2.96 a mile but have since recovered 10 cents to $3.06 a mile — 41 cents above the national average. As volumes and rejections experience a decline in Houston, Dallas may be a place for better opportunities for the time being.

Rejection rates in Dallas are relatively elevated at 5.29%, just over the national average of 5.21%, and Dallas remains the third largest truckload market by outbound tender market share of 2.9%.

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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.