Today’s lanes to watch: Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Takeaways for today's lanes:

  • Detroit to Chicago van rates continue an upward trend as tender rejections reach record levels due to limited capacity.

  • In the Elizabeth, NJ to Chicago lane, the spread between intermodal and dry van spot rates remains high despite a recent intermodal spot rate increase.

  • Atlanta to Lakeland van rates are off recent highs despite signals that capacity on the lane has tightened recently.

Detroit to Chicago – Van rates continue an upward trend as tender rejections reach record levels due to limited capacity.



  • Detroit to Chicago outbound tender rejections increased from 18 basis points (bps) December 1st to 33.05 bps on December 27th, an 83.6% increase.

  • FreightWaves TRAC spot rates for this lane stand at $3.66 per mile, a 33 cent increase from mid-December lows.

  • Chicago to Detroit outbound tender rejections stand at 28.31%, indicating tight capacity in both markets.

What does this mean for you?

Brokers: Communicate issues on contracted lanes, reduce tender acceptance rates and only bid if a truck is available due to lane volatility. Communicate with committed carriers on availability into the new year and notify customers if extra capacity becomes available.

Carriers: Pay close attention to driver availability numbers and take into account drivers taking extra days off at the beginning of 2022 when booking or accepting customer freight. If you have extra capacity, consider spot freight first due to elevated margins (after determining that this will not disrupt most of your contracted committed lanes).

Shippers: Communication and prioritization are key. Leverage tender compliance and determine if pushback is available in the event of a recently completed bid or RFP. Brokers and carriers will continue to see capacity challenges during the holidays; Wait to schedule non-priority loads until after the New Year holiday.

Elizabeth, NJ to Chicago – The spread between intermodal and dry van spot rates remains high despite the recent intermodal spot rate increase.



  • The door-to-door domestic intermodal spot rate is up 16.5% month-overmonth in the lane to $1.69/mile, including fuel surcharges.

  • The dry van spot rate that brokers are paying for capacity, per the FreightWaves Market Dashboard, is $2.48/mile, including fuel surcharges.

  • The van tender rejection rate in the lane is 22.6% despite the Elizabeth outbound van tender rejection rate being a relatively low 14.9%.

What does this mean for you?

Brokers: When bidding for capacity, keep in mind that the market rate, according to Market Dashboard, is $2.48/mile with $2.63/mile and $2.31/mile representing buy rates in the 67th and 33rd percentiles, respectively. Those rates include fuel surcharges.

Carriers: It should be relatively easy for carriers to get reloaded in Chicago given both the size of the freight market and the current Van Headhaul Index of 29, which indicates that there is more outbound freight than inbound freight. Carriers should keep in mind, though, that the Chicago market is not as tight as most; its current van outbound tender rejection rate of 16.95% is 481 bps below the national van tender rejection rate of 21.76%.

Shippers: Despite the recent increase in intermodal spot rates, they remain 32% below truckload spot rates, so shippers may want to use rail intermodal for less timesensitive spot loads.

Atlanta to Lakeland – FreightWaves TRAC rates are off the highs, but face upward pressure as capacity tightens.

SONAR Market Dashboard Trac Spot Rates from Atlanta to Lakeland


  • Like the vast majority of the country, rejection rates from Atlanta to Lakeland increased by over 110 bps w/w to 21.1%, 118 bps lower than the national average.

  • Even prior to the holiday noise, the Headhaul index increased over 20%, signaling that more outbound loads are being tendered and that capacity will continue tightening.

  • FreightWaves TRAC spot rates are 10 cents per mile off the recent high but could face upward pressure throughout the week

What does this mean for you?

Brokers: Pad your margins, locking in the lower rates ahead of further capacity tightness along the lane. Work with carrier partners to secure outbound freight in Lakeland to make the destination more attractive at lower rates.

Carriers: Be willing to accept freight into Lakeland because a recent uptick in tender volumes signals that securing an outbound load will be easier. Expect greater spot market activity in the Lakeland market; you may be able to get higher rates out of what is normally a backhaul market.

Shippers: Expect disruptions to your network and try to avoid the spot market as carriers will have the upper hand in the Lakeland market. Tender loads further in advance during the week as the holidays tend to keep drivers off the road.

3 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All