Truckload Spot Rates Show Trucking Industry Rebound in 2017, Analysts Say

John Sommers II for TT

An index that measures truckload pricing showed that spot rates continue to exceed contract rates, which analysts predict will result in a rebound in the industry in 2017.

The Cowen-Chainalytics Freight Indices report, distributed by Cowen analyst Jason Seidl, showed that dry-van spot rates were 4.5% higher than contract rates late November, which was the biggest gap of 2016.

“[The trend] may be because of capacity constraints related to the peak shipping season,” Seidl explained in the report. “Notably, we did not see this type of activity last year in the dry-van market. We maintain that we have seen the bottom of the trucking market and think dry-van carriers are far better off heading into this bid season [2017] than they were [a year ago].”

Refrigerated spot market rates were also 4% to 5% higher than contract rates during the same period.

During the first half of 2016, dry-van contract rates were up to 3% higher than spot rates, but the two flip-flopped in June. The same was true in the refrigerated market in the first half of 2016, but spot rates surged past contract rates and held higher starting last September.