End Of 2016 Trucking Updates

As 2016 comes to a close, we are reviewing trucking and transportation trends from the last quarter. Watching trends helps us prepare and plan for the future.

U.S. Trucking Trends

In October 2016, the American Trucking Associations’ seasonally adjusted trucking tonnage index remained slow. The truck tonnage index measures the gross tonnage of freight transported by motor carriers for a given month. The index was 0.9% lower year over year in October 2016.

Dry van truckload rates in the spot market through November 2016 were $1.89 per mile, which increased 1.6% year over year. Shippers have indicated minimal need for the spot market to get freight covered, so spot market freight is driven by price shopping instead of capacity scarcity.

Dry Van Trends

Flatbed rates in the spot market were $1.77 per mile through November 2016, which was down 4.3% year over year. Weak industrial demand and more available flatbed capacity have contributed to the decline in flatbed spot rates compared to last year.

Flatbed Trends

Global Containerized Ocean Traffic

During October 2016, inbound containerized ocean volumes at all U.S. ports increased 5.4% year over year. Overall, 2016 volumes are up 2.6% year over year. During the same time last year, volumes were up 3.7% year over year.

Ship charter leases are depressed as the market remains oversupplied in ocean capacity. It is estimated capacity has grown 40% since 2008, but demand has only grown 20%. Capacity is expected to continue to grow in excess of demand throughout the rest of this year and 2017. The excess space is expected to be a headwind for rates in the foreseeable future.


CSX reported fourth quarter volumes down 2.7% year over year. NSC reported carloads up 1.7% year over year. Declining metal, stone, petroleum and coal volumes negatively impacted 2016 rail volumes.

Interested in keeping up with more trucking and transportation trends? Check out more of our blog articles.

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