TransCore says September spot market freight availability up 65 percent
October 26, 2010
The spot market is continuing an impressive run in 2010, according to data in the TransCore North American Freight Index.
In August, TransCore reported that spot market freight availability was up 65 percent in September year-over-year, with September hitting its highest spot market level since 2005, which TransCore said was a peak year for spot market volume.
As was the case last month, TransCore said that annual spot market comparisons in the coming months are likely to decline, due to improving freight volume levels seen by TransCore in the second half of 2010 compared to the second half of 2010. This has also been reflected in recent sequential spot market data as June and July spot market freight availability was up 112 percent and 122 percent, respectively, and August was up 75 percent, leading up to September’s 65 percent annual gain.
But despite the decrease in spot market freight availability from August to September, TransCore said September load volume was 4.9 percent higher in September than August, with a good amount of the incremental volume occurring “over the final days of the month, as shippers rushed freight out the door before closing the third quarter.”
The firm added that in the last six years, spot market volume has increased month-over-month three times by an average of 19 percent and declined three times by an average of 15 percent, with a six-year average increase of 1.7 percent from August to September.
A research report by Jon Langenfeld, transportation analyst at Robert W. Baird & Co., noted that spot market demand remained relatively flat through August and into September and is consistent with industry commentary suggesting moderating demand trends.
“Early October demand trend experienced a noticeable uptick as trends remain at levels above 3Q10,” wrote Langenfeld. “Despite fluctuating spot market demand trends, industry commentary suggests demand has remained solid, though not as robust as experienced in May.”
Shippers have told LM that spot market quotes have been rising lately, although there has been a sufficient amount of available capacity, too.
One potential reason for the sequential decline in spot market freight availability from August to September and July to August may be due an “early peak” and increase in imports, with heavy port activity on the import side occurring in July especially to avoid hectic West Coast ports and meet retailers’ needs ahead of the holiday season.
A freight transportation expert told LM that while 2010 levels look good on an annual basis compared to a tough 2009, the sequential trending down in spot market freight availability—and the American Trucking Associations and Cass Information Systems monthly freight indices to a certain extent—are to be expected. And while freight volumes are not rising at the level they did earlier in the year, the expert said volumes, instead, appear to be settling in.
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