FreightWaves’ TRAC: Better Data Means Better Deals

Scott MallFreight Market Blog

FreightWaves has formed the Trusted Rate Assessment Consortium (TRAC) to provide the most up-to-date view of U.S. spot rates. Put simply, FreightWaves TRAC provides spot rate data at tender, reflective of the current market for truckload freight for a majority of U.S. lanes. FreightWaves TRAC’s spot rate data is delivered to subscribers as soon as the next day, which is days or even weeks earlier than any competitor can deliver. And up-to-date data is the difference between winning and losing in dealmaking. 

FreightWaves TRAC gives the clearest insight into freight pricing because it provides spot rates based on data from the moment of tender (when spot rates are determined). Data and insights provided by FreightWaves TRAC will help organizations minimize the risk of transportation spend while maximizing opportunities, margin and revenue. 

The data that powers FreightWaves TRAC comes from key market-driving companies adhering to a uniform protocol. It provides the necessary insights to brokers, carriers and shippers to negotiate, buy and sell capacity. FreightWaves TRAC spot rates also can be used for benchmarking, analyzing, monitoring and forecasting rates. Moreover, FreightWaves TRAC subscribers can use spot rates as a data point to enhance their current pricing algorithms and forecasts.

FreightWaves TRAC is part of SONAR’s new Market Dashboard application. Combining FreightWaves TRAC with millions of data points, SONAR has the most comprehensive view of transportation markets available. In addition, FreightWaves TRAC upgrades SONAR’s current predictive rate algorithm.

Most current industry providers have stagnant rates that do not represent a lane’s current conditions. FreightWaves’ unique combination of data scientists and industry experts have collaborated to improve spot rate reporting and fix some of the long-standing issues with rate data.

What makes FreightWaves’ TRAC rates different:

  • Data is collected at the time a load is covered or accepted by a carrier. 
  • There are a minimum of 5 TRAC contributors for each lane, with no single contributor accounting for more than 25% of the contributing loads in each lane. 
  • Rates are to the carrier as of yesterday (updated daily at 11 a.m. ET)
  • Spot rate market data is provided for over 650,000 unique dry van lanes and 300,000 unique reefer lanes (linehaul + fuel).
  • Rates are weighted and based on distance and time. This values more recent loads that are closer to the precise origin/destination pair the user specifies. This is superior to simple geographic and temporal expansion techniques in which all rates are valued equally. 

In addition, there is a new FreightWaves Market Dashboard. The new dashboard provides market detail to assist with quick and profitable decision-making. A SONAR map that shows changes in capacity conditions is in the top right of the screen; blue indicates a market is tightening and red indicates loosening conditions along with a real-time animated radar. A lane legend is available to provide detailed insights and prescriptive action.

Looking at the Market Dashboard, SONAR users are prompted to enter an origin/destination pair in the form of zip5, zip3 or city/state combinations. A SONAR subscriber then can choose between van or reefer data at the top of the screen. Once a lane is entered, it can be saved in a queue at the bottom of the screen for ease of monitoring repetitive lanes. The current spot rate is displayed in the middle of the screen below the map with a historic trend line chart positioned at the bottom. The high rate is the 67th percentile and the low rate is the 33rd percentile value.  

SONAR subscribers can then quickly switch to the margin calculator to add the desired margin in either a flat amount or a percentage markup. 

The FreightWaves proprietary scientific rate index provides insight into underlying market conditions that are not visible to most in the space. Based on multiple data points, including tender data, the scientific rate can expose moments that the rate may not be reflective of the underlying, more opaque actions of carriers. 

FreightWaves knows that rates are not the only information to measure a lane, but they are probably the most relatable. The addition of FreightWaves TRAC near-time spot rate data makes SONAR users the most well-informed in the market.