The transportation industry impacts all areas of US Commerce and keeping up with the current market trends is vital for all sectors of the economy. Below is a curated summary of the July 2022 Market Trends backed by our information advantage to help you make the best decisions for your business.
Truckload: The Market is shifting but not collapsing. Will it correct?
The current spot market is facing pressure due to record diesel costs and decreasing spot market freight volumes. New carrier start-ups work mostly in the spot market and in 2021, the US saw a huge expansion in this carrier demographic with 100,000 new companies started that have fleets of 1-5 trucks. Why is this impactful to today’s market? The capacity market tends to begin to cycle in these environments as seen in the following market indicators:
- Used truck pricing in April started contracting from record heights for the first time since 2020. This tends to be an indicator of carriers not expanding their small fleets or not updating equipment in an environment of less opportunity.
- Less freight is migrating to the spot market from busted route guides. Shipment tenders to awarded carriers/brokers acceptance has increased. Rejected loads are mostly covered by carrier in secondary position.
- Carriers choosing to not renew their operating authority has increased. The second quarter of 2022 rates are now more than double the rate seen in the first half of 2021. Source: FMCSA.
- Self-employed (owner-operators) discontinue operations and select the safety of employee status of a larger carrier.
We certainly are seeing a shift in the truckload market dynamics. Continued softening pressing directly into recession while early signs of this information don’t necessarily signal that outlook long term. We will continue to closely monitor that trend over the coming quarters.
LTL: Knowledge is Power
Utilizing your C.H. Robinson representative to see what options and diversification exist within your LTL freight portfolio will empower your business. Gaining knowledge around LTL market price and service challenges is vital as we segue into the pressured markets of Q3 and Q4.
- Pricing discipline: Expect LTL carriers to maintain pricing disciplines through 2022. While overall tonnage is showing some slowing of growth, capacity growth continues to lag demand growth.
- Accessorial charges: LTL carriers are very focused on identifying freight characteristics that require additional cost coverage. Top examples include:
- Extra length
- Pickup & Delivery location with high-cost attributes
- Appointment or notification needed
Planning for the second half of 2022 while keeping the evolving spot market in mind
- Economic environment: Key to this pattern is freight volume.
- Carriers are currently evaluating their portfolio of business. Questions being asked regarding capacity response for the back half of 2022:
- Will available capacity contract?
- If it does contract, how quickly will it happen?
- Spot market tension and pricing shown is national. Individual markets and lanes can have much tighter and looser experiences, suggesting value adds in regionally aligned strategies.
- Stay close to the market dynamics. The spot market is a good leading indicator of the broader contract market.