Southbound loads lead Canadian spot market volume surge

by Today's Trucking

TORONTO, Ont. – Canadian spot market load volumes continued to strengthen in the third quarter, and in September surpassed the previous month for the fourth consecutive time.

September also marked the strongest year-over-year growth for a single month in over two years, and was also up 12% form August levels.

(Source: Loadlink Technologies)

Outbound cross-border activity led the way, according to Loadlink Technologies. Equipment postings rose only slightly, bringing the truck-to-load ratio back in carriers’ favor. Loadlink reported Q3 load volumes surpassed Q2 by 39%.

Weeks two through four of September were especially strong, up about 3% from the previous weeks. The final week of the month saw the highest load postings since the pandemic began. Loadlink attributes this in part to Canadian Thanksgiving stocking by supermarkets and grocers.

“Historically, the Canadian spot market sees the end-of-month surge in freight in September prior to Thanksgiving, followed by a dip and slow period after the holiday,” Loadlink Technologies said in a release.

(Source: Loadlink Technologies)

Outbound cross-border activity was up sharply – 40% better than August volumes – while equipment postings declined 5%. As a result, over 90% of the absolute increase in loads was attributable to outbound loads to the U.S.

Ontario and Quebec were the biggest benefactors, each seeing a 43% increase in loads. But Western Canada also saw a 29% boost in loads to the U.S., and Atlantic Canada’s cross-border volumes jumped 76% but on lesser overall volumes. September loads to the U.S. were up 15% compared to the same month last year.

Inbound loads from the U.S. actually fell 7%, while truck availability rose 11%. Atlantic Canada was the only region that saw an increase, with 7% more northbound loads. But despite the poor monthly performance, inbound loads were up 40% year-over-year, according to Loadlink.

Domestic activity was positive, with 9% more loads posted and 3% more equipment. Domestic load postings were up 9% year-over-year.

The lanes showing the largest increases were all originating in Canada to the U.S. Leading the way were Quebec-Tennessee, Ontario-South Carolina, and Alberta to South Dakota.

(Source: Loadlink Technologies)

Loadlink also tracks lane postings by unique companies to try to understand which regions’ manufacturers and shippers are seeing better activity. Leading the way were Alberta-South Dakota, Quebec-Tennessee, Ontario-South Carolina, Saskatchewan-Minnesota, and Quebec-Wisconsin.

The truck-to-load ratio was 3.24, down 7% from 3.50, reflecting tightening capacity. Year-over-year, the September truck-to-load ratio fell 17%.

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