February average daily load volumes up 13 percent month over month
TORONTO – Loadlink’s Canadian spot market continued its strong start to the year with an impressive 13 percent increase in average daily load volumes; however, February’s reduced number of working days caused overall load numbers to dip slightly by two percent month over month. Compared to February 2019, volumes were lower by nine percent.
February was a hectic month following growing global health concerns over developments in the novel coronavirus. On domestic soil, rail blockades dampened trade and made key transportation routes inaccessible. Due to reduced rail availability, carriers took advantage of additional loads shifted onto the spot market. The heavily influenced Toronto to Montreal corridor saw available loads on Loadlink increase 41 percent while truck volumes fell 12 percent. The Toronto to Ottawa corridor saw load numbers rise eight percent against 13 percent less trucks.
Following January’s strong performance, overall cross-border truck and load volumes declined in February. Outbound cross-border loads saw a slight gain of four percent, while inbound loads dropped 14 percent. Higher intra-Canadian load volumes of 17 percent helped lessen the overall impact of reduced cross-border activity.
As a whole, loads originating from all major Canadian regions saw noticeable gains. Atlantic Canada load volumes jumped 34 percent, while Ontario saw a 24 percent increase, followed by Western Canada with a 15 percent gain. Freight transferred from rail to truck most likely caused these increases in loads out of all regions.
With the exception of Western Canada, loads destined to all major regions saw gains. Atlantic Canada and Quebec led with 57 and 50 percent increases in load volumes, respectively. The tempering of harsh winter weather conditions would have made roads more accessible on the east coast. Restocking of important necessities following major winter storms in the east and amidst rail blockades in Quebec may have been the major factor in increased load volumes to these regions.
Rail blockades severing connection points in central and mid-eastern Canada, resulted in several long-haul lanes with major bumps in load volumes due to difficulty in procuring rail access over a prolonged route. Month-over-month, the following lanes surged in load postings on Loadlink: Montreal to Calgary (+155%), Montreal to Vancouver (+135%), Montreal to Winnipeg (+125%), Toronto to Calgary (+108%) and Toronto to Vancouver (+97%). Montreal had to deal with two blockades along rail routes to ship to the west coast, while Toronto had one.
The normally low-volume lane of Big River (SK) to Winnipeg best demonstrated the shift in freight demand from rail to road as the blockades near Winnipeg caused a massive boost of 110 percent more loads month-over-month. This impact further reinforced that volumes were outside the norm as it constituted an almost 900 percent increase year-over-year compared to February 2019.
Average Truck-to-Load Ratios
In February, capacity contracted again for the fourth consecutive month continuing to maintain a healthy freight to capacity balance on the system. The ratio fell 10 percent to 2.42 from 2.68 in January. This was the lowest truck-to-load ratio since February 2019. Year-over-year, February’s truck-to-load ratio increased 13 percent compared to a ratio of 2.14 in February 2019.
About TransCore Indexes
Truckload spot rates in specific areas can be accessed from TransCore’s Rate Index truckload rating tool Real-time and historical data on total truck and load volumes, as well as ratios in specific areas, can be accessed from TransCore’s Posting Index.
TransCore’s Canadian Freight Index accurately measures trends in the truckload freight spot market. The components of the Freight Index are comprised from roughly 6,400 of Canada’s trucking companies and freight brokers. This data includes all domestic, cross-border, and interstate data submitted by Loadlink customers.
About TransCore Link Logistics
Looking for a better way to match available freight loads with trucks, TransCore Link Logistics developed Loadlink in 1990. Loadlink is a load board connecting brokers, carriers, owner operators and private fleets in Canada to a real-time database of 19 million loads, shipments, and trucks – the largest in the industry.
The monthly Canadian Freight Index now defines the freight movement spot market. The company also provides its customers with dispatch solutions, ACE/ACI eManifest, Posting Index, Rate Index, credit solutions, factoring, online transportation job boards, mileage software, and more.