New Report Shows Widening Gap Between Spot, Contract Prices

A new report based on a comparison of spot and contract rates for truckload carriers continues to show an ever-widening gap between prices for one-time and long-term freight shipments.

The Chainalytics-Cowen Monthly Freight Indices, which measure the relationship between refrigerated and dry van rates, are based on rate data gathered by Chainalytics from bill payments and interpretation by Cowen & Co. analyst Jason Seidl.

The latest report shows that spot-market rates for dry van freight are between 1% and 4.5% below contract rates, with the widest gap ever at the end of April, which was the latest period measured in the report. The report tracks comparisons between spot and contract rates for a one-year period, including last year when contract rates exceeded spot pricing. Refrigerated freight price gaps are even wider, ranging from 6% to 9% below contract prices.

“Notably, this [gap] is happening despite recently lowered contract rates,” Seidl said in a report. “The dislocation is more pronounced for reefers than dry-vans. Brokers remain in a better position than asset-based truckers. Truckers continue to face a weak spot market.”