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 Truckstop.com 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.
Truck postings rose 71.2% to basically the same level as two weeks prior to the holiday week. With volume slightly outpacing capacity, the Market Demand Index – the ratio of loads to trucks in the Truckstop.com system – increased slightly. The MDI declined in dry van as truck postings were up 91%, but it was higher in all other segments.
Total spot rates barely changed from the prior week, easing half a cent. The marginal decline resulted from a drop of nearly 3 cents in rates in the specialized segment, which represents a small amount of spot volume. Rates were higher week over week in all other segments and were up nearly 18% year over year. Excluding fuel surcharges, rates were about 9% higher than the same 2020 week. Dry van rates edged up 1 cent and were 16% (7.5% excluding fuel surcharges) higher than the same week last year. Refrigerated rates increased nearly 4 cents and were about 24% (about 17% excluding fuel) above the same 2020 week. Flatbed rates were up more than 2 cents and were about 20% (around 11% excluding fuel) higher than the same week last year.
Dry van load postings jumped 79.8% after falling 34.2% during the holiday week. Volume was the highest since the week ended October 1 and otherwise the strongest on record aside from the weather-related spike in February. Dry van load postings were about 23% higher than the same week last year and about 158% higher than the five-year average (2015-2019) for the week.
Refrigerated volume rose 37.7% after falling 35.7% during the holiday week. Volume did not recover to pre-holiday levels, but that is typical as the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving are among the strongest of the year for the segment. Aside for the Labor Day and Thanksgiving holiday weeks, refrigerated volume was the lowest since August. Refrigerated load postings were about 58% higher than the same 2020 week and more than 160% above the five-year average.
Flatbed load postings soared by nearly 108% after plunging 48.4% during the previous week. Volume was the strongest in four weeks. Postings were about 12% higher than the same week last year and nearly triple the five-year average.