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  May 14th, 2024 | Written by

Improved Carrier Sentiment Signals Potential Rate Increase in Truckload Spot Market

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A recent Bloomberg | Truckstop survey reveals that sentiment among North American carriers in the truckload spot market has improved over the past three months, although some concerns remain.

Read also: and Bloomberg Intelligence Survey Shows Carriers Remain Optimistic About Demand Despite Obstacles

“The industry is emerging from a challenging quarter, and the improved sentiment coupled with Truckstop’s rising Market Demand Index suggest rates may move higher from here,” said Lee Klaskow, senior freight transportation and logistics analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence. “The direction of rates will be driven by supply-side factors as the industry remains flush with capacity.”

Key Findings from the 1Q24 Truckload Survey

1. Demand and Future Predictions

While 62% of carriers reported lower freight volumes in Q1, 33% anticipate an increase in freight demand over the next 3-6 months, a significant improvement from previous expectations. Only 19% foresee a decline in demand, marking a 12-point improvement from the last survey.

2. Market Improvements

The survey indicated that market conditions might be improving, with Truckstop’s Market Demand Index up 9% year-over-year, the first annual gain after seven consecutive declines. Additionally, only 26% expect rates to drop in the next 3-6 months, while 28% anticipate rising rates.

3. Carrier Uncertainty

Despite the positive outlook, 44% of respondents were unsure about their future in the industry, and 9% expressed a desire to leave trucking. High interest rates impacted 78% of businesses, with 19% citing increased equipment-financing costs as a barrier to upgrading or adding tractors. Demand challenges persisted, with an average load drop of 10%, slightly better than the 13% decline in Q4.

“We’re all eagerly anticipating a more positive shift in the tide,” said Kendra Tucker, CEO of Truckstop. “Truckstop continues to be a trusted partner, committed to delivering innovative solutions to help carriers navigate this ever-evolving business landscape.”

The Bloomberg | Truckstop survey, conducted among 225 owner-operators and small fleets, provides valuable insights into the health of the spot market. The sample included various types of carriers, with 45% operating just one tractor.

The full survey results are available to Bloomberg Terminal subscribers via BI.