SONAR National Truckload Index (NTI)

The Pulse of the US Supply Chain

FreightWaves National Truckload Index

7 day average

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What Is the National Truckload Index?

The SONAR National Truckload Index (NTI) is a seven-day moving average of freight spot rates that measures the U.S. for-hire, over-the-road dry van trucking market:

  • Representing 8.7 million loads
  • Published 365 days of the year
  • Views aggregated weekly or moving seven-day averages


The NTI is real-time proxy for the health of the national supply chain used by freight and non-freight businesses to make more accurate decisions. Historical and daily NTI data is available only through FreightWaves SONAR. 

Using the NTI as a Freight Benchmark


Shippers must get their goods to market. The National Truckload Index (NTI) provides insight into daily rates for shippers’ transportation managers, as well as a view into market trends and price levels for management teams.


The National Truckload Index can help a broker set competitive rates while retaining a healthy margin. These rates can be justified to the shipper by referencing NTI, showing how and why rates have moved in a given direction.


The National Truckload Index (NTI) is a transparent benchmark rate that can be shared with shippers to convince them that rates are in-line with the Index. NTI can also be used as a benchmark rate in shipping agreements as an impartial method to establish trust with shippers.


The National Truckload Index (NTI) paints a real-time picture of the transportation industry, which helps drive the overall economy. Economists can use this as a leading indicator related to inflationary pressure and consumer spending.


The National Truckload Index (NTI) provides insight into the U.S. transportation market supply chains that can be used when providing news to the transportation and financial markets, transportation-reliant businesses and the general public.


The National Truckload Index (NTI) provides access to daily freight spot rate data so that financial models, research, recommendations and commentary can react quickly to fast-changing freight market conditions.

What Makes the National Truckload Index a Reliable Supply Chain Benchmark?

Built on Transparency

SONAR is trusted by the freight/logistics/supply chain industries and contributors to act as an independent, neutral and unbiased price assessor in the collection of freight spot rate data. The National Truckload Index (NTI) is constructed in accordance with a methodology and governance structure developed using best practices from the index provider industry.

Image displaying spot rate data

Accurate Freight Spot Rate Data

SONAR provides spot rate data to help gauge market conditions, in addition to benchmarking, analyzing, monitoring and forecasting rates to ensure you are receiving a fair price.

Data Timeliness

The National Truckload Index (NTI) is based on actual transactions between transportation providers and brokers submitted as of the previous day’s close of business. This represents actual transactions tendered, providing insight into the current spot market conditions over the past 24 hours. The daily rate is released at 9am ET each day, with the exception of holidays.

Image of TRAC data
Image of a map illustrating FreightWaves NTI breadth of coverage

Breadth of Coverage

The National Truckload Index (NTI) is built on a consortium of transportation providers equivalent to 8.7 million truckload shipments annually or $16 billion in annual spend. The index reflects the broadest representation of the current cost of transported goods in the US market and can be broken out into linehaul or fuel-inclusive rates. Granular lane-level data is available through TRAC.

Frequently Asked Questions

The SONAR NTI is a seven-day moving average of spot rates that measures the U.S. for-hire, over-the-road dry van trucking market. NTI is calculated on a composite national aggregated level of the rate per mile for fully enclosed, non-refrigerated, 48- or 53-foot trailers moved by Class 8 tractors. The index is based on eligible spot market transactions submitted by data providers. SONAR National Truckload Daily Index Methodology.

The input data utilized to calculate the National Truckload Index are actual spot market transactions submitted by Data providers. Data providers are contractually committed to provide daily spot market freight transactions that are anonymized and aggregated. These transactions form part of the Trusted Rate Assessment Consortium (TRAC) and NTI is based upon them.

SONAR’s TRAC (Trusted Rate Assessment Consortium) is a collection of spot rate data that is aggregated from top-tier transportation providers and brokers in the industry to give insight into specific lane rates on a daily basis. SONAR uses the TRAC data to calculate the daily National Truckload Index. Firms can license the granular TRAC lane spot rate data directly from SONAR.

Dry vans are defined as fully enclosed, non-refrigerated, 48- to 53-foot trailers moved by Class 8 tractors. SONAR also provides TRAC lane spot data on reefer (fully enclosed, refrigerated, 48- or 53-foot trailers moved by Class 8 tractors) and flatbed (48- to 53-foot trailers moved by Class 8 tractors). However, national indices for reefer and flatbed modes of transport are not available at this time. Future indices may be available for other forms of freight as well as other geographic areas.

The transaction data used to calculate the National Truckload Index (NTI) consists of spot market transactions between the transportation providers and brokers. Each transaction is expressed as the Rate Per Mile and eligibility for inclusion is based on transactions that are executed with a Coverage Date within one calendar day of the date of submission and with an Execution Date within 14 calendar days of the Coverage Date (the “Eligible Transactions”). These transactions are negotiated on a day-to-day basis and not covered by any existing contractual agreements between the Data Providers and carriers. NTI is a seven-day moving average of spot rates that measures the U.S. for-hire, over-the-road dry van trucking market.

A benchmark is a visible, transparent index that can be used as a cost basis in a contract for services. Rather than having the parties haggle and spend time negotiating the cost in an agreement, both parties in a contract can agree to use a a benchmark as a transparent, fair and visible cost basis. As the market evolves, the FreightWaves National Truckload Index (NTI) can be used as a trusted benchmark.

NTI can be used by all segments of the industry:

Shippers can spend less time negotiating lane rate values with counterparties by using the NTI as a cost index in a shipping agreement. With an indexed shipping contract, shippers would not overpay in soft markets and let them maintain higher service levels in tight markets.

3PLs/brokers can embrace the NTI as a universal “benchmark” that is adopted by carriers and shippers as a fair way to agree on a per lane cost. For 3PLs/brokers, taking less time conducting back and forth negotiations on the phone lets them work on covering more loads and moving their customers’ freight.

Carriers can suggest to counterparties that they agree to use the daily NTI as the per lane cost benchmark in shipping agreements. This is an excellent way to build trust and confidence with shippers – especially those that are unfamiliar with individual lane pricing, or don’t want to spend time negotiating with carriers.

SONAR has established an Index Governance Structure and Data Contributor Code of Conduct in addition to the Index Methodology for NTI. These governing documents were developed using best practices from the index provider industry and are intended to ensure trust and transparency for parties using the data in transactions.

The SONAR National Truckload Index (NTI) shall be based upon eligible transactions submitted by Data Providers during the 24-hour period ending at 11:59:59 PM Pacific Time on the previous day. NTI is calculated and published for seven (7) days of the week, with the exception of holidays. If the NTI is scheduled to be published on a holiday, the NTI will publish on the next non-holiday date.

The holiday schedule is published for each year before the start of the applicable year. Holidays include:

Martin Luther King Jr. Day 
Washington’s Birthday 
Memorial Day 
Independence Day 
Labor Day 
Columbus Day 
Veterans Day 
Christmas Day 
New Year’s Day 

A third-party group of transportation providers and brokers provide data in the form of actual transactions, which are used in the calculation of indices. Data providers have been provided the Data Provider Code of Conduct, which outlines SONAR’s expectations with respect to the provision of contributed data.

Access to current and historical NTI data is available through SONAR and via API. If you are an existing SONAR or API customer, speak with your SONAR contact to learn more. If you would like to inquire about getting access to the National Truckload Index, please contact us.

We welcome new contributors to TRAC. If you would like to learn more, reach out to your SONAR contact. contact us.

SONAR is interested in creating indices to meet the needs of the industry. To express interest in areas you would like to see expansion, please contact the SONAR National Truckload Index team.


SONAR Data Contributor Code of Conduct

SONAR Index Complaint Process

SONAR Index Conflicts of Interest Management

SONAR Index Definition of Key Terms

SONAR Index Governance Structure

SONAR National Truckload Index Methodology

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