Recovering demand in Canada’s trucking sector on pace as freight volumes on the rise again for third consecutive month.

TORONTO – Load volumes on Loadlink’s Canadian spot market rose again for the third consecutive month as a result of a two percent month-over-month increase from July. Year-over-year, August 2020 load postings were also two percent higher than August 2019. As stated last month, due to August’s positive performance that fell in line with expectations, Loadlink witnessed for the first time that two consecutive months saw positive year-over-year comparisons since June and July of 2018 when load volumes reached record highs.


Early August load volumes fell slightly following a strong week to end July. Volumes held steady until the last week of the month when average daily postings surged entering September and reached a peak level not seen since March–right before the coronavirus pandemic impacted Canada.

Outbound Cross-border Activity

Overall outbound cross-border load postings on Loadlink’s spot market saw a large gain of 27 percent against a 12 percent decline in truck postings compared to July. This increase in load postings was the main contributing factor to the overall monthly improvement from July. Despite the strong monthly growth, year-over-year outbound cross-border loads declined by nine percent.

Inbound Cross-border Activity

Inbound loads from the United States fell 10 percent compared to July 2020. Equipment postings saw no change. Year-over-year, load volumes were down seven percent. Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada also saw declines in loads as they fell 11, 14 and eight percent respectively. Western Canada fared the best as inbound load volumes only declined a single percent.

Intra-Canadian Activity

Domestic activity on Loadlink’s spot market was up just two percent month-over-month, but increased 15 percent compared to August 2019. The variation in where loads originated from did not differ too heavily on a provincial level as Ontario saw a five percent gain, Western Canada dropped two percent, and Quebec only saw a single percent increase. But in terms of where loads were destined, Ontario saw eight percent more loads, Western Canada 11 percent less, and Quebec had an increase of 11 percent.

Lane Increases

Ontario and Quebec lanes were the standout performers when it came to lanes that saw the largest percentage increase in load volumes. Quebec outbound held the top three spots in this regard as the New Jersey, North Carolina and Florida inbound lanes all saw 88 percent average increases in loads from Quebec. Ontario outbound occupied the next two positions as the Florida and Virginia inbound markets saw 85 and 82 percent increases respectively. In terms of lanes with the largest absolute increase in number of loads from July, the Quebec to Ontario lane once again held the top spot. Ontario’s core market saw the next five lanes all held by Ontario outbound lanes to cross-border markets with the exception of the local short haul market.

Loadlink Technologies also tracks the number of unique companies posting in each lane. During these times of economic recovery, this is a potential indicator of markets where manufacturers and shippers are seeing better activity; hence, brokerages are having access to more loads from customers in additional markets. The top five lanes that saw the largest percentage increase in unique companies posting in that lane were Quebec to North Carolina (+60%), Quebec to Illinois (+37%), Ontario to Kentucky (+32%), Quebec to New Jersey (+32%), and Quebec to Michigan (+32%).

Table 1: Lanes with the Largest Load Volume Increases Month over Month

Market Lane Rank Monthly Load Volume Change Monthly Companies Posting Change
Quebec – Ontario 1 +13% -2%
Ontario – Pennsylvania 2 +58% +6%
Ontario – Ontario 3 +8% +4%
Ontario – New York 4 +35% +5%
Ontario – Florida 5 +85% +8%
Ontario – Illinois 6 +52% +10%

*Based on lanes with at least 500 postings in August. Ranking is based on how many more loads that lane gained month over month, compared to all lanes visible on Loadlink (with minimum 500 postings).

The following city-to-city lanes saw notable improvements in freight volumes on a monthly basis. Once again, year-over-year comparisons are trending positively as more lanes saw improvements on an annual basis than on a monthly basis. Of the top 100 city lanes in August, 74 saw increased month-over-month comparisons, while 80 lanes saw positive year-over-year changes.

Table 2: Spotlight City-to-City Lanes with Notable Improvements

Average Truck-to-Load Ratios

In August, capacity tightened by eight percent to a ratio of 3.50 from a value of 3.80 in July. Year-over- year, August’s truck-to-load ratio was 10 percent lower compared to a ratio of 3.88 in August 2019.

About Loadlink Indexes

Rate Index data is based on the average spot rates paid by freight brokers and shippers to carriers in the specific lanes where loads are hauled. This data also shows real-time and historical available capacity, and total truck-to-load ratios.

Freight Index data provides insight on Canada’s economy at large, and is a primary resource for the trucking community. The Freight Index accurately measures trends in the truckload freight spot market as its components are comprised from roughly 6,000 Canadian carriers and freight brokers. This data includes all domestic, cross-border, and interstate data submitted by Loadlink customers.

About Loadlink Technologies

Loadlink Technologies helps Canadian transportation companies facilitate the critical movement of goods by trucks through the use of its technology. With decades of propelling innovation and by way of its modernized freight matching, the company helps its members drive better business performance and competitiveness while delivering new levels of customer experiences.

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