How can SONAR help me as a Trucking Carrier?

Use SONAR to maximize trucking rates, fleet utilization, and to minimize operating costs.

For trucking companies, the two most important decisions a fleet can make on a daily basis:

Where to send their trucks and how to price loads.

SONAR answers these questions better than any freight intelligence system on the market. 

SONAR knows the actual load balance in a market, using contract load tenders.

SONAR scores each market's load balance on a daily basis, known as the Headhaul score. This score tells carriers what markets have more loads than trucks. This score accurately reflects the conditions in the market. No more relying on dirty load board activity data to track market conditions; this is real market data.

SONAR combines historical trucking rate data with real-time contract load tender data to create a trucking rate predictor. This dynamic freight rate forecast gives trucking fleets a forecast they can trust, based on actual market conditions and operational data. 

Plus, SONAR is the only platform that monitors both trucking contract market and spot market activity. With 85% of trucking activity taking place in the contract freight market, SONAR gives you an unmatched view of the action. 

Historical data is a thing of the past. SONAR's predictive freight rates are the future. 



Carriers can “keep score” and compare financial and operational performance against the market or industry through aggregated data from competitive cohorts. With SONAR you know where your company stands. You can set goals based on credible market data to drive improvement or increase positive performance.

Benchmark to measure the performance of your company, as well as compare it to others over time.


Comparison of Net Revenue Per Truck Per Week Dry Van (blue), Reefer (green) and Flatbed (orange).

How are my trucks performing in the market? Where can I make strategic changes to improve employee efficiency?

SONAR benchmarking data for carriers comes from the Truckload Carrier Association's (TCA) Profitability Program (TPP) – trucking companies that have from 13 to 7,000 trucks. Carriers submit detailed financial and operational data monthly that comes directly from their general ledger and transportation management systems to FreightWaves.

You have access to the largest data repository and most advanced geo-based mapping UI that has ever been brought to market.

The benefits are clear. You can develop an organized overview of your company and how it performs on different levels. In addition, you can use metrics to stay competitive. Benchmarking helps you determine a strategy that works best for your business.

Carrier benchmarking includes the following KPIs:

  • Fuel - prices, percent change
  • Average length of haul 


Utilize SONAR's real-time data to understand freight market conditions/trends. With information from SONAR, you can take decisive action ahead of your competitors.

The SONAR platform has powerful analytics tools and the richest, deepest and fastest data sets in the entire market. SONAR's 150,000+ indices and billions of data points give users insights into current and trending conditions – from one specific market or across the global freight market. You have the ability to analyze how different factors impact your revenue and profitability.

SONAR aggregates data from over 1,000 sources in transportation and logistics. These sources range from IoT vendors, transportation management systems, telematics providers, on-truck sensors, payment providers, fuel vendors, 3PLs, shippers and carriers. Moreover, 93% of the data available in SONAR is proprietary.


Truckload wait time in minutes across all market on 3D map

A sampling of what you can analyze with SONAR:

  • Market activity 
    • Inbound and outbound loads daily percent change in activity
    • Freight market share percent in last 7 days
    • Trucks in market
  • Detention or dwell
    • Per market
    • For all major ports, airports, and railheads 
  • Fuel - prices, percent change
    • Broken down to length of haul 
    • Broken down to reefer, dry van and flatbed


Using SONAR’s monitoring features, you can understand real-time freight market conditions to take immediate action to prosper from positive conditions or take precautions because of negative conditions. And you have the ability to monitor a specific market or the global supply chain.

With SONAR's proprietary data, you can see where the market is headed before it gets there. No more playing from behind. SONAR has a wide variety of volatility measurement indicators and tools that look for unusual and inconsistent market activity in the market – and you can set personalized monitoring alerts for your specific needs.

You have access to real-time monitoring, utilizing data sets that only SONAR has organized in one place. This enables you to catch market trends that can provide you an edge, or provide you with leading indicators of imbalances in supply and demand that will affect your operations.


Violations to inspections over a five-year timeframe on chart

Examples include:

  • Driver retention
  • Hours of service
  • DOT reported accidents
  • Road conditions
  • Volume changes by length of haul
  • Price changes by length of haul
  • Industry/economic news 
  • Rates in major lanes
  • Tender volumes 
  • Tender rejections
  • Weighted tender rejections  
  • Tender lead time 
  • Length of haul volumes 
  • Equipment type volumes
  • Weather
  • Critical events
  • Class 8 truck orders

A key factor to monitor year-round is weather, which creates supply chain volatility and risk. Hurricanes, blizzards and flooding all cause significant challenges for freight movement. SONAR has the deepest set of weather analytics and risk monitoring applications of any logistics and supply chain software platform.


Southwest weather forecast (NM and AZ)

SONAR's weather-monitoring features include:

  • Forecasts 
  • Radar maps 
  • Projected weather risk impacts to assets 
  • Surface weather conditions 
  • Extreme weather alerts 
  • 24-hour rain/24-hour snow forecasts
  • 48-hour barometric pressure and dew point forecasts 
  • Hourly rain, freezing rain, snow and ice forecasts/totals
  • Wind gusts

For similar reasons, SONAR Critical Events keeps you ahead of costly disruptions to freight movement. Impact regions are highlighted, often days in advance of major weather  events like hurricanes or snowstorms. Other Critical Events include earthquakes, fires, road/bridge closures, etc. Within a potential impact region, Critical Events color codes assets such as highways, airports, seaports and railroads based on threat level, and indicates how long the threat will last. Overlays of radar, temperature, precipitation and wind forecasts, National Weather Service warnings, DOT traffic information and forecasted road conditions complete the picture. SONAR’s Critical Events, along with its vast freight market data, can help you make better routing decisions for driver and asset safety, helping to protect your bottom line.


Critical events page focused on Denver Airport weather risks

SONAR’s News feature can also help you analyze the market (whether that is a single market, a region or the entire country). The SONAR RSS News Feed provides real-time news feeds from hundreds of business news sites, including many in transportation and logistics.

You can customize the RSS news feed to present as a scrolling ticker or as a page with automatic updates.


News widget with transportation and oil and fuel filter

News categories include:

  • Transportation News
  • Financial News
  • Technology News
  • U.S. News
  • International News
  • Oil and Fuel News
  • International Freight News

The Social Media Flash feature is streamed from Twitter and is highly filtered from a list of 35,000 relevant accounts that tweet about business and transportation news. You can sub-filter the content even further with:

  • Pre-selected subjects
  • Custom accounts
  • 70 terms that are relevant for transportation and logistics 
  • Social media flash can also be put into scrolling ticker mode

Social media flash widget



SONAR's comprehensive, trustworthy and real-time data from freight markets across the United States and the world is combined with the most powerful forecasting features in the industry. You are provided with the intelligence necessary to proactively manage your business. Forecast market activity, market volatility, contract and spot rates, fuel and operating costs, mid- and long-term equipment values or total cost of ownership – to name just a few.

SONAR has the only near-time data on load volumes and capacity. Therefore, you have the ability to generate predictive rates for hundreds of freight markets. SONAR's predictive rate tool uses market data and artificial intelligence to forecast freight rates for today, next week, next month, next quarter, six months from now or next year. The predictive rates widget calculates the mileage and shows a total with or without fuel surcharge.


Comparison of short-haul, mid-haul and tweener volume index 

Examples of subject that you can forecast using SONAR include:

  • Predictive rates for hundreds of freight markets
  • Trucking contract rates 
  • Trucking spot rates
  • Reefer freight rates 
  • Van freight rates 
  • Capacity demand/availability
  • Market volatility 
  • Freight marketshare 
  • Freight market activity 
  • Fuel and operating costs 
  • Mid- and long-term equipment values 
  • Total cost of ownership
  • Market activity
  • Wholesale diesel rates
  • Weather

“... Knowing which markets to send our trucks so we can get round trip head-haul rates is awesome, not to mention, it provides a value for our customer base while maximizing our profits.”

— John Kenneally, Chief Executive Officer at Southern Ag Carriers Inc


Just how quickly will SONAR provide a return on your investment? Use this calculator to determine the effect that small improvements can have to your bottom line. Using SONAR, you will make more informed and less risky freight decisions that can lead to growth in your organization. 

By increasing the number of loaded miles per day your drivers drive by 1% and your rate per mile by $0.03 you will make more per week #WithSONAR.

#WithSONAR you can save up to per week through better bid negotiations and more effective management of your routing guide.

#WithSonar you can add 1 more load per person each day and increase $5 margin per load, earning your company an extra per week.

Disclaimer: Every company’s circumstances are unique. Fixed and variable expenses, market conditions and operational factors vary. Unforeseen events may also affect results. Calculated potential results reflect the consensus expectation of FreightWaves’ experts. Actual results may vary.

SONAR provides Carriers access to lightning fast insights into asset positioning and allocation, increasing your truck and asset utilization in ever-changing backhaul and headhaul markets, and giving you real time responsiveness to freight market volatility. 

We know that time is money, and with SONAR you have the fastest and most comprehensive freight data at your fingertips combined with the tools to understand trends, optimize your network, and react faster than ever before. We deliver a faster view of freight market data than anybody else in the industry – by several days and even weeks.

With our unique combination of data, analytic tools and news, you’re given unprecedented insight and understanding into what is happening in the freight markets right now, in the near term and forward looking into weeks and months ahead.

Learn what you can do with SONAR

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