for transportation markets and the general economy.

This page is your go-to resource for transportation insights and expert commentary on how the COVID-19 recovery is affecting the economy and transportation markets. Our Freight•cast™ forecasting model and team of experts produce weekly insights that help you navigate these challenging times.

This page is updated throughout the week. 

Recorded Live - October 14th, 2021 r2

COVID-19 Freight Recovery Indexes

The COVID-19 Freight Recovery Indexes for Trucking and Rail measure the industry's response and recovery based on pre-pandemic levels, while accounting for historical patterns and seasonal fluctuations. Indexes are now available for trucking as a total, as well as narrowed by dry van, refrigerated, and flatbed, using spot rate metrics, and for rail showing North American carload and intermodal, economically sensitive freight, automotive, and energy sectors. Download the indexes below to view all graphs available.

December 6 

Truck Freight Recovery Index

TRFI 12.06

Freight activity rebounds from Thanksgiving distortion

Total: Seasonally adjusted freight activity snapped back nearly 60% from the Thanksgiving lull to nearly 7% above the index level prior to the holiday. Volume is now less than 18% below the pandemic-high spike posted in February.

Dry Van: The Dry Van segment jumped more than 54% from the prior week to a level that was nearly 8% above the pre-holiday level. Volume in the segment is still about a third below the February spike, but it is nearly 165% above the pre-pandemic base.

Refrigerated:  Temperature-controlled activity rose about 40% from Thanksgiving week to a level that was more than 5% ahead of the pre-holiday volume. Volume was about 31% below the February peak but more than 120% above the pre-pandemic base.

Flatbed: The Flatbed segment soared more than 67% above the holiday week’s volume. However, the segment fell about 1% short of the volume the week before Thanksgiving. Flatbed is about 19% below the mid-May peak volume.

Download the Truck Freight Recovery Index

December 1

Rail Freight Recovery Index

RFRI 12.01

The timing of the Thanksgiving holiday distorts the comparison and makes last week’s declines appear more dramatic.

N.A. Carload: Carload moved down in the holiday week, but should recover next week once the dramatic holiday comparison is past.

N.A. Intermodal: Intermodal declined sharply as well, battling the dual headwinds of the Thanksgiving holiday and the flooding disruptions along rail lines east of Vancouver, British Columbia.

Economically Sensitive Freight: Economically sensitive freight followed the overall carload pattern of a sharp, holiday week decline and should mostly recover when the new week’s data is released.

Automotive: The decline in automotive was smaller than many other sectors, but it was already operating at a weaker level before the holiday than many of those sectors because of ongoing parts shortages.

Energy: Energy followed the general pattern of a significant holiday week decline that should mostly reverse in the week ahead.

Download the Rail Freight Recovery Index

December 6

Spot Market Insights

This content is relevant for: Rail, Trucking, Shipping, Equipment, and Freight Focused Professionals
MDI 12.06

Spot volume snaps back after Thanksgiving

Although the spot market did not follow seasonal patterns immediately prior to Thanksgiving, it did see the typical rebound in volume after the holiday. Load postings in the system jumped 80.7% during the week ended December 3 (week 48) to the strongest level in five weeks. Volume was up in all segments, led by flatbed, which saw more than twice the load postings in the latest week than during Thanksgiving week. Truck postings also rebounded after the holiday.

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View Spot Market Insights

Interactive Dashboards:

FTR has developed a series of interactive dashboards to help transportation professionals understand the real-time true impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the rates and volumes in the freight marketplace. The map below assesses the state-level impacts on the U.S. trucking industry by four equipment types – dry van, refrigerated, flatbed, and specialized – using spot market data.


FTR’s analysis examines historical seasonal behavior regarding rates in each state and normalizes the data to represent how the trucking environment would look in a typical growth economy. By comparing that norm to the current rate environment, we can understand how COVID-19 is affecting rates on a state-by-state basis.

To help you better understand how the map works, visit our Knowledge Base FAQ.


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Podcast | Trucking Market Update & Rail Market Update

This content is relevant for: Rail, Shipping, Equipment, and Freight Focused Professionals

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