How supply chain leaders can be the CFO’s hero

Cut costs, then help finance set new budgets Freight rates in all modes have come down hard since last year, and if you’re a transportation manager or supply chain leader, you probably feel confident about hitting your budget this year. You might be tempted to take the downcycle off, put strategic initiatives on the backburner […]

Predicting the next turn in the freight cycle

Freight markets feel stuck in unseasonable doldrums with volumes low, capacity loose and rates in a trough after supply chain activity cooled post-COVID. But as we know, the relationship of supply and demand is not static, but dynamic and ever-shifting. A pendulum moves slowest and briefly pauses just before it starts falling in the other […]

SONAR now has spot to contract rate spread

SONAR now contains a spot to contract rate spread index (RATES) to help users understand the short- and long-term relationships between transactional and long-term truckload pricing trends.

Trucking rate relief in 2022? Not so fast


Shippers hoping for trucking rate relief in 2022 are going to be severely disappointed. The trucking freight market is one of the most volatile markets on the planet, especially since 2014. What is causing these massive swings? Supply and demand, naturally.  If you really want to understand the market’s rate direction, you must understand how […]

FreightWaves Forecasts of Benchmark Spot-Rates: Infographic

Boasts Errors of Less than 10% Over Holiday Season The FreightWaves data science team used historical market and expense data to forecast future market conditions. The thesis is that FreightWaves Benchmark Spot Rates can be calculated for future dates. When finalized, this tool will assist clients in understanding the effects that coming changes in markets […]

Forecasting benchmark spot rates


Overview FreightWaves Benchmark Spot Rates provide a cost-based model for setting spot rates for more than 735,000 zip3 origin-destination pairs greater than 250 miles in the contiguous United States. They are based on an empirically derived conceptual model that accounts for market conditions, including tender data, toll data, several other miscellaneous variables, and aggregated carrier […]

How to predict trucking spot rates

18 Wheeler carrying load

One of the most important tasks for freight forecasters is forecasting transportation rates, which are localized. That means that rates in Los Angeles are different from rates in Chicago or Dallas or any market large or small. The two primary types of transportation rates are contract rates and spot rates, which exist in each market. […]

What is the difference between spot rates and contract rates

Trucks on road at sunset

When shippers are looking to move freight, they can pay one of two rates to do so: long-term contractual rates or short-term spot rates. Contract rates Contract rates make up 80% of the trucking market and make sense for both carriers and shippers when freight is consistent and travels on regular lanes. Contract rates are […]

How to use SONAR to monitor freight markets

Monitor Freight Volumes

Freight volumes SONAR’s outbound tender volume index (OTVI) measures electronically tendered truckload volumes across the U.S. Overall OTVI is indexed to 10,000 (March 1, 2018) and is the aggregated volume in 135 U.S. freight markets. OTVI is the most accurate near-time view of the full truckload markets. Freight forecasters use the OTVI index to monitor […]

How do tender reject rates predict the freight economy?

Truck at dock

Tender rejections occur when a contracted carrier rejects an electronic load request from a shipper customer. FreightWaves SONAR measures the former via the outbound tender reject index (OTRI).  Carriers really only have two reasons for rejecting a contracted load. One, they do not have available capacity to service the request. Or, two, there are more […]

How are spot rates determined?

Transportation rate analysis is a core part of any seasoned freight forecaster’s role. While the trucking contract market represents 85% of the freight volume in the for-hire truckload industry and the trucking spot market represents just 15% of truckload demand, the most volatile rates in the truckload industry can be found in the spot market. […]

Good news: The freight market is about to turn up

Freight market forecasting is a tricky game these days. Historical freight market data models provide good reference points, but because of the unprecedented nature of COVID-19 (a classic example of a black swan event), we have to rely on current data to understand what is taking place in the freight market. The good news is […]