Why Are Truckload Rates on the Decline?

Simple: Supply and Demand

Freight volumes in 2023 are well below 2021 and 2022 volumes as shown in today’s Freightwaves Sonar Outbound Tender Volume Index.
As volumes decline, carriers scramble to load their trucks. Small carriers, competing in the spot market, struggle more than their larger counterparts, who haul most of the contract loads, now look to the spot market to fill empty trucks.  The increased supply of trucks in the spot market drives prices further down.
As you see in the OTRI below, carriers are rejecting fewer and fewer offers.  This indicates that large carriers are taking most the loads their contracts send them and still have equipment ending up in the spot market.
Large carriers who ramped up driver pay in the last 36 months are now paying the price setting the table for some M&A in the truckload business.
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