April Freight Market Update

04/16/2021

April Freight Market Update

Stay up-to-date with the latest conditions impacting the freight market, curated by Trinity Logistics.

Imported Volumes

Did anyone else think the pictures of the stuck Ever Given ship  in the Suez Canal looked like someone put a fishing boat in a bathtub? The bad news is even though it was stuck for only a week, it created a logjam for ships that chose to wait it out and a delay for ships that decided to take an alternate route. The trickle-down effect will be felt for several months to come. Do not be surprised if “Out of Stock” flashes when you make your next online purchase or store shelves become a little bare for certain goods.

The Customers’ Inventory Index has now sunk to levels not seen for almost 25 years.  As a result, it is anticipated that volumes will remain elevated as stores look to restock shelves combined with consumers anxious to spend recent stimulus payments. Additionally, as more and more Americans receive the Covid vaccines, consumer confidence will grow, further strengthening the demand for goods.

There does not appear to be an end in sight with regards to imports from Asia and other countries.  A new high was recently set regarding container volume heading from China to the U.S., and overall imports heading to the U.S. are also trending for a new benchmark. Keep in mind these are shipments that have not touched U.S. soil and most likely will not do so until the end of April, possibly the early part of May.  Let’s not forget that on average, 30 ships are sitting at anchor off the California coast. Already crowded ports on both sides of the country are about to get even more strained.

Domestic Outlook

Freight volume in the U.S. has stabilized in the last few months but remains elevated for this time of year.  Even with carriers pressing the reset button on rates heading into 2021, the rate at which tendered shipments get rejected still sits at one of every four shipments. This combination will continue to keep spot rates elevated as we head into an anticipated strong Spring season for freight. The demand for refrigerated trailers is still high. As more commodities that can travel on open deck (flatbed) trailers increase, along with an improving industrial production market and booming housing market, the upward rejection (and rate) trend for flatbed equipment will continue.

Reduce Risk

Trinity Logistics is highly committed to helping our customers reduce risk. We monitor incidents reported to CargoNet. In the week of March 31 through April 6, 24 incidents were reported to CargoNet, with the cargo theft level currently “high.” 

Cargo thieves are getting more and more clever. Our Team does our due diligence when booking loads to advise our customers of things to check for to avoid a scam. Ultimately our best line of defense is advising shippers of the name on the truck coming in to load. If the name on the truck that is loading does not match, please advise us immediately. We want your freight to be safe from start to finish. Verifying the Carrier’s insurance coverages before loading is imperative when any worst-case scenarios occur. Transparency with our shippers can help catch these situations and better protect you from fraud. 

Next month, we’ll take a deeper look at double brokering. 

Tech Savvy

Trinity Logistics’ Carrier Portal is now easier for Carriers to quote freight and book a load. If you’re part of our Carrier Network, all you must do is log into our Carrier Portal with your username and password. You’ll be able to see available loads to quote or book. 

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