Key Trucking Industry Trends & Information

Information Sources: Morgan Stanley, Cleveland Research, Georgia Innovation

We are constantly looking at trends and comparing them to trends from previous time periods to help us predict what will happen in the future. The following statistics look at trucking industry trends from recent months.

U.S. Trucking

In January 2015, the seasonally adjusted truck tonnage index was 6.6% higher year over year. Comparably, the year over year gain for the truck tonnage index in December 2014 was 3%. In 2014 the full year tonnage was adjusted to 3.5% growth, the 2013 tonnage was reset up to 5.5% over 2012. Month over month in January the tonnage index was up 1.2% following a relatively flat month over month performance in December.

The dry-van rates in the spot market through early March 2015 were up $1.90 per mile. The better weather has eased the demand and lower diesel prices have reduced fuel surcharges. Spot rates are 11.5% lower year over year on a four-week rolling average. Our work has indicated expectations for a continued tight capacity. It has driven earlier contract pricing discussions. Shippers are seeing, on average, 5-7% rate increase (excluding fuel) in 2015 versus the 3-5% average year over year in 2014.

Through early March of 2015, the flatbed rates in the spot market were just over $2.00 per mile on a trailing four-week basis. This rate is down >5% year over year. The lower fuel surcharges have contributed to the recent decline in spot rates. Most flatbed carriers are focused on contract rate increases, excluding fuel, in the mid to upper single digits for the 2015 year, compared to the year of mid to high single digit rate increases in 2014.

Ocean Traffic

During January 2015, the inbound containerized ocean volumes at all U.S. ports fell 10.5% year over year. This decline was the first negative year over year growth that we’ve seen since February 2014. The full year 2014 volumes were up 6%, compared to 2013. The year over year decline in landed containers appears to be largely due to the congestion at the West Coast ports.


Through the beginning of March 2015, CSX has reported that 1Q15 volumes are up 1% year over year. NSC reported carloads are up nearly 2% year over year. This increase is due to strong stone and petroleum volumes.


Below are a few graphs that display the statistics discussed previously.

Dry Van TL Freight Index

Dry Van TL Freight Index  Graph

Reefer Supply/Demand

Reefer Supply Demand March 2015
Flatbed Supply/Demand

Flatbed Supply and Demand Graph
YoY % Change in TL Tonnage

YoY Percent Change in TL Tonnage March 2015
3 Month Load/Tonnage Expectation TL

3 Month Load Tonnage Expectation TL March 2015

3 Month Cost Expectation TL

3 Month Cost Expectation TL March 2015


For more information on the recent trucking trends, please contact us.

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