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Cutting Through The Pre-Thanksgiving Freight Volume Noise


Outbound tender volumes (OTVI.USA) rose by 15.97% year-over-year this week, but were running down through Wednesday, Nov. 20 in the low single-digit range, which we feel is a more accurate representation of the week. To be clear, last year Thanksgiving fell on Nov. 22 and thus the 15.97% increase year-over-year is highly inflated. 

Volumes have been well off the year-to-date high of 6.78% from early October and in a consistent downtrend for the last several weeks. Outbound tender volumes had previously been on a nearly three-month "winning streak" of positive volumes dating back to late July, when OTVI first crossed over to positive on July 24. 

Nationally, outbound tender volumes rose 15.97% year-over-year this week. Month-over-month volumes are tracking up 2.45%, while week-over-week volumes are up 4.35%.

On a market-by-market basis, 13 of the 15 major markets FreightWaves tracks were positive on a week-over-week basis. On the upside, Indianapolis led the way, up 12.52%, followed by Ontario, California, up 9.62%, and Newark, New Jersey, up 6.69%. On the downside, the worst markets week-over-week included Memphis, Tennessee, down 4.76%, and Miami, down 0.91%.



National Rejection Rates Rise This Week And Appear To Be Breaking Out To The Upside

National tender rejections now sit at 6.48%. The tender rejection story finally appears to be coming together with national rejections hitting a new high since March of this year. This week brought positive news with rejections rising 95 basis points (bps) week-over-week. 

OTRI.USA has now broken above the 6% level for the second time since March. On a month-over-month basis, rejections are up 177 bps, while year-over-year it is down 893 bps compared to 15.41% at this time last year. On a trending basis, OTRI.USA is starting to look great, having risen in 11 out of the last 14 weeks, with tender rejections rising off of the 3.75% bottom experienced in mid-August. National tender rejections have moved comfortably above their 60-day moving average by 23.43%.

Year-over-year comparables for national rejection rates are still extraordinarily difficult due to the daunting 2018 numbers in which rejections never fell below double digits. As a result, on a year-over-year percentage basis, OTRI.USA is down 58%. As can be seen in the chart below, comparisons do not start to ease until the January and February time frame in 2020.


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