March Volumes Arrive on Schedule

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National freight volumes remain elevated after increasing rapidly at the end of February. After increasing almost seven percent last week, the Outbound Tender Volume Index for the U.S. receded only slightly as it hovered over the 10,000 threshold this past week. The index is based on March 1, 2018 volumes with its base value being 10,000 on that date. A value of 10,076, its value as of Wednesday, indicates there is 0.76% more load volume in the nation than on March 1 of last year. That volume number could be counter-intuitive to many because rates are quite subdued compared to this time last year, with DAT reporting average national rates 11% lower than March’s average last year.


Over the past several months many of the loads originated on the West coast as Los Angeles and Ontario in southern California grew from 5.4% of the total market volume in April of last year to over 8% currently, according to FreightWaves Outbound Tender Market Share Indices. This past week the coastal market of L.A. associated with the ports had volumes decline significantly, falling roughly 4% week-over-week. Volumes remain relatively strong from the region, averaging 58% higher from a year-over-year perspective, but this is coming off values that were almost double that of a year ago last week.


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