TORONTO, Ont. – It was a record year for Canadian spot market load volumes in 2018, but the capacity crunch appears to be easing.
TransCore Link Logistics reported the fourth quarter ended with the lowest load volumes on the year, while truck volumes set a new record for the quarter. Load volumes were down 31% in Q4 compared to the fourth quarter of 2017, and were down 15% compared to Q3 2018.
December load volumes were down 9% from November, but there were fewer shipping days. When taking that into account, the daily average number of loads posted on TransCore’s load board was up 6%.
The best month of 2018 for load postings was January, with the lowest being December. January’s load volumes were the highest in Loadlink’s history. Monthly load volumes from January to July were the highest ever recorded in each of those months, TransCore reports.
The sharpest month-over-month increase took place in January, which was up 41% from December 2017. The year-over-year increase that month was 81%.
As the year progressed, equipment postings increased. January equipment postings were at their lowest levels since 2005, but October and November marked the two highest monthly equipment volumes since Loadlink began tracking this data.
In December, equipment postings were up 52% year-over-year.
The truck-to-load ratio in December was 2.82, down from 3.20 in November, marking a slight tightening of capacity. But the year began with a carrier-favored ratio of about one truck for every load posted, with capacity coming online beginning in the second quarter. The peak truck-to-load ratio was 3.22, reached in October.
Canadian spot market rates were up 8% year-over-year in December, or 17% when singling out cross-border van rates.
“Hard enforcement of electronic logging device (ELD) adoption in the U.S. along with new tariffs would have affected rates more severely compared to intra-Canadian rates,” TransCore concluded.