Freight volumes bounce back with a strong week
Outbound tender volumes (OTVI.USA) rose by 3.76% year-over-year this week, closing back in on the year-to-date high of 6.78% from a month ago. The prior three weeks had seen year-over-year volumes fall back down to the 1% range, so this is good news. This continues their upward trajectory and extends their multi-week winning streak dating back to late July, when OTVI first crossed over to positive on July 24. It has been positive on a year-over-year basis since.
Nationally, outbound tender volumes were up 3.76% year-over-year this week. Month-over-month volumes are tracking down 1.15% while week-over-week volumes are up 2.97%. As we enter the heart of peak season, it is positive to see volumes accelerating higher this week.
On a market-by-market basis, seven of the 15 major markets FreightWaves tracks were positive on a week-over-week basis. On the upside, Laredo led the way, up 4.9%, followed by Chicago, up 2.4% and Dallas, up 2.0%. We continue to keep an eye on Detroit volumes, which have roared back after a resolution to the UAW strike, rising 94.2% year-over-year and 138.1% week-over-week. On the downside, the worst markets week-over-week included Memphis (down 5.6%), Savannah (down 4.0%) and Fresno (down 3.4%).
National rejection rates rise again this week
National tender rejections now sit at 5.46%. The tender rejection story has been much slower to develop, likely a reflection of stubbornly high capacity in the market. This week brought continued good news on this front, with tender rejections showing signs of life and rising for the second week straight.
OTRI.USA briefly broke above the 6% level for the first time since March back on September 17 but has since taken a noticeable step back. On a week-over-week basis, OTRI.USA rose by 15 basis points (bps). Month-over-month, it is also up 26 bps and year-over-year it is down 753 bps compared to 13.03% at this time last year. On a trending basis, OTRI.USA looks good and the trend is resuming upwards, having risen in nine out of the last 12 weeks with tender rejections rising off of the 3.75% bottom experienced in mid-August. National tender rejections are 6.6% above their 60-day moving average.
Year-over-year comparables for national rejection rates are still extraordinarily difficult due to the daunting 2018 numbers in which rejections never fell below double digits. As a result, on a year-over-year percentage basis, OTRI.USA is down 58%. As can be seen in the chart below, comparisons do not start to ease until the January and February timeframe in 2020.