There is never a good time for a Category 4 hurricane to make landfall, but what we heard repeatedly last week was that this hurricane could not have come at a worse time. Transportation networks are constrained by almost too many factors to list and that congestion seems only set to intensify as peak season approaches.
The timing of Hurricane Ida, which took place in the days leading up to Labor Day, made it difficult to separate the hurricane’s impact and the impact of normal seasonality on many of the nationwide data sets. But, the hurricane clearly led to further tightening in the truckload market as FEMA and other recovery efforts contributed to freight demand.
One of the advantages of SONAR is the granularity down to local market levels (referred to as “X-markets” in SONAR). Many local datasets clearly show the impact that the hurricane had on local and regional freight markets. The hurricane had a particularly strong impact on the spot market with surges in both reefer and dry van spot rates in the past week and a half to fresh multi-year highs.
We show the SONAR charts in the following pages not only to say, “Look what a big impact Hurricane Ida had,” but primarily to highlight those datasets we recommend tracking to see how freight networks are recovering.