SONAR sightings for April 21: Winchester, Virginia, to Dallas, carrier update, more

The highlights from Thursday’s SONAR reports are below. For more information on SONAR — the fastest freight-forecasting platform in the industry — or to request a demo, click here. Also, be sure to check out the latest SONAR update, TRAC — the freshest spot rate data in the industry.

Lane to watch: Winchester to Dallas

Overview: More upward pressure is being put on spot rates as outbound rejections rise 3.8% and the Headhaul Index increases 20% w/w.


  • Outbound tender volumes are up 10% w/w, indicating that demand for outbound capacity is increasing.
  • The Headhaul Index in Winchester is up 20% w/w, signaling that there is a growing imbalance between inbound and outbound capacity.
  • Outbound tender rejections are already up 3.8% but are likely to increase further as the demand for outbound capacity increases as well.

What does this mean for you?

Brokers: The Winchester truckload market is likely to tighten in the days ahead from a 10% increase w/w in outbound tender volumes and a 20% increase in the Headhaul Index w/w. Outbound rejections are already up 3.8% w/w, so be sure to prioritize this lane and let your team know that there is major upward pressure on spot rates.

Carriers: Stay firm on your rates, as you are likely to see pricing power shift further in your favor in the days ahead. Spot rates are already at a one-month high, and with the growing imbalance in volumes and increasing tender rejections, Winchester’s market conditions are very favorable for carriers.

Shippers: Your shipper cohorts currently have tender lead times at 2.9 days, but that is not likely to be sufficient for the increase in demand that is expected in the weeks ahead. Historically, In the tightest markets, shippers in Winchester have increased lead times closer to four days to help offset tightening conditions in the outbound truckload market.

Watch: Carrier update

Lane to watch: Elizabeth, New Jersey, to Boston

Overview: Capacity in the Northeast has eased the most over the past month.


  • Spot rates have fallen 14% in this lane since early February and 5% since the start of April, with a continuing downward trend this week. 
  • Elizabeth’s outbound tender rejection rate has dropped from 9.86% to 6.71% over the past week, making it the U.S. market that has eased the most significantly this week. 
  • Boston’s outbound rejection rate has moved in a similar direction to Elizabeth’s but is currently above it at 7.52%. 

What does this mean for you?

Brokers: Consider rates below $1,500 all-in a good deal as markets continue to ease rapidly in the Northeast. There is still room to fall in this lane as Elizabeth’s capacity conditions have changed dramatically over the past few months.

Carriers: You could do worse by covering this lane, with Elizabeth flipping to a much looser market coming out of an unusually tight winter. Spot rates are still well above costs and Boston has become slightly tighter than Elizabeth. It will still be difficult to get out of New England, but at least weather should not be an issue.  

Shippers: Take advantage of a rapidly loosening Elizabeth market by pushing as much freight as you can. Carriers are grabbing just about anything they can get at this point, which should also help improve service. 

Watch: Shipper update

Lane to watch: Indianapolis to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Overview: Extreme weather in the Northeast didn’t affect capacity in Harrisburg.


  • Harrisburg’s outbound tender volumes have fallen 86.85 bps w/w, the lowest tender volumes for the year. 
  • Decreasing tender rejections and tender volumes put spot rates at $3.96 a mile compared to a one-month high of $4.50 per mile. 
  • Indianapolis’ outbound tender volumes have dropped 20 bps since last week. That is not the lowest in the past month but it is not ideal. 

What does this mean for you?

Brokers: Rates are consistently trending downward in this lane; don’t expect them to go up anytime soon. The Northeast is recovering from some extreme weather that occurred at the beginning of this week, so allow time for carriers to recover affected loads.

Carriers: Capacity is still loose in both markets. There is no sign of outbound tender rejections increasing anytime soon, unless there is another dramatic weather event. From Harrisburg the Northeastern routes are a slightly more desirable option. 

Shippers: Neither market has had a massive change in capacity this week, so there is no need to shift things around. Outbound tender lead times have held firm at three days coming out of Indianapolis. Since rates are on the decline, it’s unlikely that if tenders have dates less than three days that costs will suffer. 

Source: freightwaves - SONAR sightings for April 21: Winchester, Virginia, to Dallas, carrier update, more
Editor: FreightWaves Staff