Today’s lanes to watch: Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Takeaways for today's lanes:

  • Brokers should lower bids in the ATL-HOU lane as rejection rates decline.

  • Rejection rates climb on the Memphis to Dallas lane as capacity tightens in Memphis.

  • Elizabeth to Cincinnati continues to ease prior to the holidays.

Atlanta to Houston – Brokers should lower bids as tender rejection rates decline.



  • The dry van tender rejection rate in the lane has declined 120 basis points (bps) in the past week and has declined 210 bps in the past two weeks to 15.9%, which is 276 bps below the current national dry van tender rejection rate.

  • The recent decline in the dry van tender rejection rate in the lane has been driven both by carriers being more compliant with outbound Atlanta (14.4% rejection rate compared with 19% one month ago) and inbound Houston loads (15.2% rejection rate compared with 19% one month ago).

  • SONAR shows both the Atlanta and Houston markets as backhaul markets currently with Van Headhaul Index scores of -2.7 and -12.4, respectively. That is a contrast to the summer and early fall, when Atlanta was a significant Headhaul market and Houston was even more of a backhaul market.

What does this mean for you?

Brokers: Lower your bids to reflect loosening capacity in the lane. Prioritize covering this lane given some carriers’ reluctance to head to Houston. When negotiating with carriers, highlight maritime import shipment data that shows shipments into the Port of Houston are 30% higher than one year ago, making Houston a more balanced freight market than it typically is.

Carriers: If heading to Houston, be sure to get compensated for Houston being a relatively loose freight market than most currently (13.4% outbound dry van tender rejection rate compared with the 18.4% nationally) and Houston’s current status as a backhaul market (even if elevated import demand is making the Houston market less imbalanced than it usually is).

Shippers: The average tender lead time for inbound Houston dry van loads is 3.1 days, which is above the national average of 2.6 days and indicates that shippers are concerned with securing capacity for inbound Houston loads. Therefore, keep your tender lead time extended past 3 days to help secure capacity.

Memphis to Dallas – Dry van rejection rates increase to 24.85% on the MEM – DAL lane



  • The Memphis dry van Headhaul score climbs to 43.95 as capacity tightens, pushing rejection rates up to 24.85% on the MEM – DAL lane.

  • Dallas’ dry van Headhaul score has declined, but remains elevated at 83.78, indicating capacity is still tight in the market.

  • Dallas shippers have decreased dry van tender lead times to 2.82 days as the market softened, but rejection rates bounced back up to 17.23% yesterday.

What does this mean for you?

Brokers: Capacity is tightening in the Memphis market, and rejection rates have jumped to 24.85% on the MEM – DAL lane as the Dallas market softened. Brokers should search the spot market for loads that run across the MEM – DAL lane, helping shippers find capacity for their loads. Increase your bids since carriers will ask for more to deliver into Dallas.

Carriers: Dry van carriers with excess capacity should search the spot market for loads that deliver into Dallas. The Dallas market has softened, but capacity is still tight, and rejection rates rebounded to 17.23% yesterday, halting the downward decline. SONAR’s Market Dashboard shows yesterday's spot rates at $3.47 all-in rpm, with some rates as high as $3.65 all-in rpm. Return rates on the lane remain elevated at $2.78 all-in rpm.

Shippers: Dallas shippers have decreased dry van tender lead times to 2.82 days as market conditions softened, but rejection rates bounced back up to 17.23%, indicating the market could start to tighten again. Shippers should increase tender lead times to around 3 days, and monitor shifts in the Headhaul score and rejection rates over the next week. Continue to secure capacity as early as possible, and avoid the high rates carriers are charging on the spot market.

Elizabeth to Cincinnati – Elizabeth capacity continues to ease as demand trends higher.



  • Elizabeth’s outbound rejection rate has fallen from over 20% on October 31 to 16.7% on November 8, supporting both short- and long-run easing. Outbound demand has been trending higher since early August.

  • Lane-specific rejection rates to Cincinnati have fallen just over 1% over the past week and remain well above the Elizabeth market average.

  • Cincinnati’s outbound rejection rate has fallen over two percentage points since October 22, but outbound demand has risen nearly 3% over the same time.

What does this mean for you?

Brokers: Expect some slight easing in this lane as contract compliance increases. Spot rates may slowly trend lower in the near-term until the holidays start to put pressure back on capacity over the next few weeks.

Carriers: Expect less spot market activity in this lane, but contract demand remains strong out of both origin and destination markets. Divert slightly more capacity to contracted freight in this lane. Expect increasing reload potential out of Cincinnati with both contract and spot volumes elevating over late September or early October levels

Shippers: Push freight in this lane now as capacity is easing out of Elizabeth. The holiday squeeze has not yet begun, and capacity is easier to come by in this lane than it has been since July.

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