[WHITE PAPER] SONAR highlight reel: Hurricane Ida further pressures transportation networks

Tony MulveyFreight Market Blog, White Papers

This “SONAR highlight reel,” which we publish every other week, is intended to concisely hit data highlights and trends in truckload, intermodal and maritime. 

Demand to move freight through the highway network is rising ahead of Labor Day, up 4% from one month ago, and is now at its highest level since just before the Fourth of July. Meanwhile, tender rejection rates have climbed 200 basis points since the beginning of August. In the coming days, we expect demand metrics and spot rates to hit fresh highs and we also expect a spike in tender rejection rates as capacity tightens. Disruptive events, such as hurricanes and already-constrained transportation networks typically take an extended period of time (weeks, not days) to normalize.   

The Class I railways have issued service notices suspending terminal operations and rerouting freight flows away from areas impacted by the hurricane. We are watching SONAR data on transcontinental intermodal trade flows to assess the extent of the service disruptions.   

The impact of Hurricane Ida on the maritime industry will be acutely felt by grain shippers. Three port complexes in the Gulf combine to control 55%-70% of all grain exports. The storm will also greatly impact grain shippers that utilize the Mississippi River to get grain to market.