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Truckstop and Bloomberg Intelligence Survey Shows Spot Market Close to Turning a Corner

Carrier on cell phone.

This article was originally published on PR Newswire.

BOISE, Idaho, May 4, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Spot market conditions appear to be a near turning point as carrier pessimism about future demand and rates moderates, according to the latest Bloomberg | Truckstop survey, which polled owner-operators and small fleets.

“While we don’t believe we’re out of the woods yet, the shift in sentiment is encouraging,” said Lee Klaskow, senior freight transportation and logistics analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence. “Conditions should improve due to seasonal trends, coupled with higher-cost capacity being forced out of the market. Rates may get additional support as inventory levels return to more normal levels.”

The Bloomberg | Truckstop 1Q23 Truckload Survey shows:  

  • Carriers sense better spot market conditions ahead: Demand expectations for the next three to six months have improved, though they remain below historical 1Q averages. At the same time, the rate outlook is inching up, aided by seasonal trends and more capacity coming out of the spot market.
  • Carriers see better short-term demand: While about 48% of respondents experienced weaker demand last quarter, 60% expect volumes to rise over the next 3-6 months — about 20 percentage points higher than the 4Q22 survey. Still, improved sentiment isn’t motivating carriers to buy additional or replacement tractors, with only 29% of respondents saying they might make a purchase over the next six months. Soft demand was cited by 42% as the main reason for not buying equipment, followed by higher costs (32%).
  • Spot market volumes declined 9% on average in 1Q23: Demand remained soft for carriers in the spot market in 1Q, with 71% of respondents seeing a drop from 4Q and about 48% reporting lower volume growth from a year earlier. Dry-van carriers appear to be the hardest hit, with 85% noting demand was down compared to last year, while flatbed carriers were the most resilient with 42% seeing lower volumes. This backdrop will likely push higher-cost operators out of the market.

“We agree with the sentiment of those surveyed that spot market conditions are near a turning point,” said Kendra Tucker, chief executive officer, Truckstop. “Truckstop provides carriers with the technology and solutions they need to keep their business moving and their bottom line growing.”

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.

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 123, consisting of dry-van, flatbed, temperature-controlled and specialized/diversified carriers. Of the respondents, 58% operate just one tractor. 

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