- Just five markets account for 18% of the U.S. truckload volume for domestic freight, according to the most recent SONAR report from FreightWaves.
- Since March 1, Ontario, Calif., has grown 21%, the fastest of the top five markets, largely due to import traffic in the Los Angeles basin picking up as peak season approaches. When combined, the Ontario and Los Angeles markets account for 6.33% market share, the largest in the nation.
- FreightWaves tracks market share on a rolling seven-day basis for the 135 markets that make up the U.S. trucking marketplace. The data is based on outbound tenders.
Top 5 trucking markets in the US
The market share rankings fluctuate with seasonal traffic surges, but the top performers are typically the usual suspects, Craig Fuller, CEO of FreightWaves told Supply Chain Dive. The West Coast ports bulge in preparation for the holiday shopping season, while Atlanta-based traffic blossoms with agricultural products in the summer.
"Agricultural products will certainly impact market share and it can be far more volatile in terms of demand but then you see places like the West Coast which really catch fire for the retail season," Fuller said.
Other ports could crack the ranks of the top five given some market shifts over the next several months.
For instance, Seattle could double its market share in the third and fourth quarters, pulling it close to Dallas. Both Dallas and Houston have seen origin traffic grow as the oil and manufacturing industries, as well as population patterns, have shifted, Fuller noted.
The Joliet market is essentially metro Chicago, and the strength there reflects general industrial economic growth as well as the swelling intermodal market. Container prices from China are rising, which is a bellwether of trucking prices about six weeks later, Fuller said, the trucking prices are reflecting the tight capacity.
"We see that intermodal rail is probably the biggest risk in the supply chain right now from shippers perspective, and the capacity is tapped out or nearly so right now," Fuller said. " That will start putting pressure on trucking spot prices in the next couple of weeks."
Shippers may be facing a 3% to 5% premium on trucking prices to lock up capacity with their preferred carriers and give carriers as much advanced notice as possible.
"If I'm a shipper I'm going to be thinking about what my contingency plan is and allowing more time in my supply chain," Fuller said.