March load volumes up 19 percent from February.

TORONTO – Load volumes on Loadlink’s Canadian spot market continued to rise as March saw a 19 percent increase in total load volumes compared to February. Average daily load volumes rose just two percent, while year-over-year, average daily volumes were 17 percent higher than March 2019. Truck volumes rose seven percent, but the larger boost in load volumes shifted the truck-to-load ratio downwards by 10 percent.

Compared to the last quarter of 2019, first quarter load volumes in 2020 were up 25 percent; however, were only up one percent compared to quarter one of 2019. First quarter volumes in the new year usually exceed those of the quarter preceding it by an average of 13 percent, with 2020’s higher volumes most likely attributed to supply chain disruptions caused by rail blockades and the novel coronavirus.


March Highlights

Developments in the coronavirus pandemic continued to severely impact the Canadian trucking landscape. Like rail blockades in February, restocking of retail inventories and essential goods drove increased demand on the Canadian spot market. To provide relevant and updated information on a timely basis, Loadlink recently highlighted two popular market lanes on social media that saw noticeable gains as they happened: Montreal to Toronto and Toronto to Calgary.

Mass inventory stockpiling from consumers in preparation for extended periods of isolation increased demand of consumption and essential goods. Refrigerated van demand surged 31 percent as grocery stores had to restock after shelves were emptied and checkout lines accrued. Dry van load volumes were up 18 percent overall as inventory of other non-temperature sensitive essential goods needed to be topped up. Step-deck and flatbed volumes were also up moderately at five and six percent, respectively, but aligned with seasonal trends.

Due to overall increased load volumes on Loadlink, many lanes stood out with vastly improved performance on both a monthly and annual basis. The following table highlights popular lanes with higher demand in March.


April Outlook

Early load volumes in April have shown a considerable decline in certain markets and commodities due to plant closures. Weakening economic factors caused by the coronavirus outbreak have begun to show on the spot market following a strong March. Fortunately, the trucking industry’s essential status will allow carriers to continue to facilitate trade between the North American borders, but near term conditions will require close monitoring as manufacturers reduce production and load volumes lessen.

Average Truck-to-Load Ratios

In March, capacity contracted again for the fifth consecutive month. Still remaining at a healthy load-to-truck capacity ratio, the ratio fell 10 percent to 2.18 from 2.42 in February. Year-over-year, March’s truck-to-load ratio was 22 percent lower compared to a ratio of 2.79 in March 2019.

On a quarterly basis, the truck-to-load ratio fell 29 percent from a value of 2.41 for quarter one of 2020 compared to 3.41 in the fourth quarter of 2019. Year-over-year, the first quarter ratio in 2020 was just three percent lower than the same period in 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 solutionsACE/ACI eManifestPosting IndexRate Index, credit solutions, factoring, online transportation job boards, mileage software, and more

More information on TransCore Link Logistics can be found at on Twitter, on YouTubeFacebook and LinkedIn.