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Truckstop and Bloomberg Intelligence Survey Shows Spot Market Challenges Appear Near an End

Driver with truck.

This article was originally published on PR Newswire.

BOISE, Idaho, Feb. 20, 2024 /PRNewswire/ – According to the latest Bloomberg | Truckstop survey, which polled owner-operators and small fleets, most respondents believe that current demand has reached its bottom.

“The worst may be near for the North American truckload spot market,” said Lee Klaskow, senior freight transportation and logistics analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence.  “Capacity could drop as rates hover near or below operating costs, which is crucial for the spot market to reach equilibrium.”

The Bloomberg | Truckstop 4Q23 Truckload Survey shows: 

  • Demand challenges may have hit bottom: Demand remained pressured in 4Q as 68% of respondents noted lower volume and 23% reported loads were flat. Most respondents appeared to believe that current demand has reached its low point, with 40% predicting flat volume over the next 3-6 months, 10 percentage points higher than in the 3Q survey.
    • Carriers are still reluctant to buy additional tractors, with only 14% saying they might make a purchase over the next six months. Weak demand was cited by 44% as the main reason for not buying equipment.
  • Spot rates may have hit bottom: Most carriers believe that spot rates excluding fuel surcharges are bouncing along a bottom, with an average 14% drop for respondents in 4Q. Such rates likely will remain flat in the next 3-6 months, according to 46% of respondents, while 32% anticipate declines and 22% expect improvement.
  • Carriers remain resolute: Loads dropped an average of 13% in 4Q amid a soft economy and tough comparisons. This has created uncertainty for many owner operators, with 43% unsure about their status in six months and 12% looking to leave the industry.

“We share the sentiments of our customers and hold an optimistic outlook that spot market conditions will improve this year,” said Kendra Tucker, chief executive officer, Truckstop. “Built on top of the most trusted freight network in North America, Truckstop is committed to empowering carriers with our unmatched portfolio of technology solutions they need to run their business in this dynamic landscape.”

The Bloomberg | Truckstop survey of owner-operators and small fleets provides timely channel checks into the health of the spot market. The sample size was 148, consisting of dry-van, flatbed, temperature-controlled and specialized/diversified, hot-shot and step-deck carriers. Of the respondents, 52% operate just one tractor. 

The complete survey is available to Bloomberg Terminal subscribers via BI.

About Truckstop

Truckstop is a trusted partner for carriers, brokers, and shippers, empowering the freight community through a platform of innovative solutions for the entire freight lifecycle to increase efficiency, automate processes, and accelerate growth. As one of the industry’s largest neutral freight marketplaces, Truckstop provides the customer service as well as scale of quality loads and trucks to give customers of all sizes, whether on the road or in the office, the transparency and freedom to build lasting relationships and grow their businesses. To learn how Truckstop is helping move the freight community forward, visit https://truckstop.com.

About Bloomberg Intelligence

Bloomberg Intelligence (BI) research delivers an independent perspective providing interactive data and investment research on over 2,000 companies, 135 industries and all global markets. Our team of 400 research professionals help our clients make decisions with confidence in the rapidly moving investment landscape. BI analysis is backed by live, transparent data from Bloomberg and 500 third-party data contributors that clients can use to refine and support their ideas. Bloomberg Intelligence is available exclusively on the Bloomberg Terminal and the Bloomberg Professional App. Visit us at https://www.bloomberg.com/professional/product/bloomberg-intelligence/ or request a demo.