TORONTO – TransCore Link Logistics’ Canadian spot market softened in September following a minor improvement in August. Load and equipment volumes both declined six percentage points each, which caused the truck-to-load balance to remain virtually unchanged. The first three weeks of the month showed relatively weak performance, but a late rally in load volumes during the final week kept the monthly decline lower.
The overall monthly decline in load volumes came from a seven percent drop in cross-border freight entering Canada with a five percent dip in intra-Canadian loads. Despite the broad outlook, an opposite trend occurred in the final week of September as inbound cross-border load volumes saw a significant 15 percent increase compared to the week prior. Intra-Canadian load volumes experienced a slight upturn of three percent.
Mid-sized Canadian Markets Lead Late Recovery
Recovery in the last week of September was mainly because of significant jumps in outbound loads from the Vancouver (BC), Southern Alberta (AB), and Moncton (NB) markets. The busiest Canadian market of Toronto (ON) saw no change in volumes from the previous week, while the Montreal (QC) market saw load volumes fall 10 percent.
Minneapolis Market Heats Up
Over the entire month, some city-to-city line hauls involving the Minneapolis (MN) market also heated up. Late September coincides with soybean maturity and harvest season, which is Minneapolis’ top exported agricultural commodity. The Minneapolis to Mississauga (ON) lane volumes increased 225 percentage points thanks to better dry van load performance.
Interestingly, freight to Minneapolis from the Brampton (ON), Hudson Bay (SK) and Winnipeg (MB) markets propelled 240 percent upwards. Improvement in Brampton was attributed to superior reefer volumes, while the latter two cities were due to higher dry van volumes.
Wisconsin Cranberries Ready in Time for Canadian Thanksgiving
Three of the top five American markets that saw the largest weekly gains in cross-border volumes belonged to the state of Wisconsin (Green Bay, Eau Claire, Madison). Wisconsin leads the United States in cranberry and ginseng exports, and with harvest season beginning in mid-September and Canadian Thanksgiving weekend just ahead, may explain the boost in freight volumes. Decatur (AL) and Chattanooga (TN) comprised the remaining two markets with the biggest changes. On average, these five markets saw gains of 96 percent in outbound loads headed for Canada. Conversely, truck postings from these markets to Canada fell an average of 19 percent during the same period.
THIRD QUARTER LOAD AND TRUCK PERFORMANCE
Third quarter load volumes were down 10 percent compared to the second quarter of 2019 and were down 22 percent from the same period last year. Barring 2009, third quarter load volumes have always underperformed the quarter preceding it.
Third quarter equipment postings were the strongest quarterly postings in Loadlink’s history. The last quarter held this title until third quarter volumes exceeded it by a single percentage point increase. Compared to the third quarter of 2018, equipment volumes were up 25 percent year-over-year.
Third quarter truck-to-load ratio expanded 12 percent to 3.98 from 3.55 in Q2 2019. Year-over-year, the Q3 truck-to-load ratio increased 60 percent from a ratio of 2.48 trucks for every one load available in Q3 2018.
September equipment numbers decreased six percent while the daily average number of truck postings decreased by one percent. Compared to September 2018, capacity was up 24 percent year-over-year. Capacity for the month was the highest for any September ever recorded in Loadlink’s database.
The truck-to-load ratio in September was 3.90. This was less than a single percentage point increase from August where the value was 3.88. The equal contraction in load and truck volumes caused the balance to remain virtually unchanged. Year-over-year, the average ratio for September increased 45 percent from 2.68 in September 2018.
About TransCore Indexes
Truckload spot rates in specific areas can be accessed from TransCore’s Rate Index truckload rating tool, and real-time and historical data on total truck and load volumes, as well as ratios in specific areas can be accessed from TransCore’s Posting Index.
TransCore’s Canadian Freight Index accurately measures trends in the truckload freight spot market. The components of the Freight Index are comprised from roughly 6,500 of Canada’s trucking companies and freight brokers; this data includes all domestic, cross-border and interstate data submitted by Loadlink customers.
About TransCore Link Logistics
Looking for a better way to match available freight loads with trucks, TransCore Link Logistics in 1990 developed Loadlink, a load board connecting brokers, carriers, owner operators and private fleets in Canada to a real-time database of 18 million loads, shipments and trucks – the largest in the industry. The monthly Canadian Freight Index now defines the freight movement spot market. The company also provides its customers with dispatch solutions, ACE/ACI eManifest, Posting Index, Rate Index, credit solutions, factoring, an online transportation job board, mileage software and more.