Since late February, COVID-19 has been turning the trucking world on its head. But now, both freight rates and mileage have rebounded almost to where they were before the spread of COVID-19 began impacting the United States economy.
As shutdown orders have been lifted or eased in most of the country, there has been an increase in freight demand. According to Truckstop.com, load availability was up 31% last week versus the week before. The number of loads posted the first week in June were up 18% over the previous week.
Freight volume is being bolstered thanks largely to a few different factors. First, the reopening of physical stores coupled with the Memorial Day holiday produced a spike in retail sales. Dry van volume has benefited from that boom.
Second, it looks like the volume of freight coming through major ports like Los Angeles and Long Beach is climbing. Major routes like those from the Port of LA have seen increases in both volume and rates.
Finally, yearly agriculture trends are helping to boost reefer rates. Flatbed and tanker rates remain well below their pre-COVID levels however.
There are exceptions of course. Florida, which has seen a dramatic spike in COVID-19 cases recently has seen a drop in reefer rates. Along some major Florida routes, rates have fallen as much as 17 cents per mile in just one week.
With concerns over a second wave of COVID-19 outbreaks, it isn’t clear what the economy will look like in coming weeks. Though White House officials say that the economy can’t be shut down again, even in the event of a second wave.