Spot Market Challenges Nearing the End: Study

According to the latest Bloomberg | Truckstop survey, most respondents believe that current demand has reached its bottom.

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According to the latest Bloomberg | Truckstop survey, most respondents believe that current demand has reached its bottom.

“The worst may be near for the North American truckload spot market,” says Lee Klaskow, senior freight transportation and logistics analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence. “Capacity could drop as rates hover near or below operating costs, which is crucial for the spot market to reach equilibrium.”

“We share the sentiments of our customers and hold an optimistic outlook that spot market conditions will improve this year,” says Kendra Tucker, CEO, Truckstop. “Built on top of the most trusted freight network in North America, Truckstop is committed to empowering carriers with our unmatched portfolio of technology solutions they need to run their business in this dynamic landscape.”


Key takeaways:


  • Demand remained pressured in 4Q as 68% of respondents noted lower volume and 23% reported loads were flat. Most respondents appeared to believe that current demand has reached its low point, with 40% predicting flat volume over the next 3-6 months, 10 percentage points higher than in the 3Q survey.
  • Carriers are still reluctant to buy additional tractors, with only 14% saying they might make a purchase over the next six months. Weak demand was cited by 44% as the main reason for not buying equipment.
  • Spot rates may have hit bottom: Most carriers believe that spot rates excluding fuel surcharges are bouncing along a bottom, with an average 14% drop for respondents in 4Q. Such rates likely will remain flat in the next 3-6 months, according to 46% of respondents, while 32% anticipate declines and 22% expect improvement.
  • Carriers remain resolute: Loads dropped an average of 13% in 4Q amid a soft economy and tough comparisons. This has created uncertainty for many owner operators, with 43% unsure about their status in six months and 12% looking to leave the industry.
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