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SONAR sightings for May 5: Nashville to Atlanta, shipper update, more

The highlights from Thursday’s SONAR reports are below. For more information on SONAR — the fastest freight-forecasting platform in the industry — or to request a demo, click here. Also, be sure to check out the latest SONAR update, TRAC — the freshest spot rate data in the industry.

Lane to watch: Atlanta to Nashville, Tennessee

Overview: Capacity is loosening in Nashville but holding strong in Atlanta.


  • Nashville’s outbound tender rejection index is at 10.11% and falling. It’s down over 2% week over week (w/w).
  • Spot rates are $4.16 per mile for this lane, which is on the high side nationwide.
  • Atlanta’s outbound tender volumes are falling, but still have volumes almost four times that of Nashville.

What does this mean for you?

Brokers: Nashville has almost a perfect load balance with a Headhaul Index of -6.32. Capacity is loosening in Nashville, putting downward pressure on spot rates. Watch spot rates like a hawk and apply that pressure to get carriers to come down under $4 per mile. 

Carriers: Capacity is loosening in Nashville but Atlanta still has volume to spare. With more outbound loads than inbound loads (a Headhaul Index of 57.20), taking a load to Atlanta at a slightly lower rate should pay off getting back out of Atlanta.

Shippers: Outbound tender lead times in both markets are averaging just over 2.5 days. Keeping tender lead times at this minimum will guarantee shipments being covered and will give more flexibility in rates for the ideal carriers to book shipments with. 

Watch: Shipper update

Lane to watch: Charlotte, North Carolina, to Chicago

Overview: Capacity will tighten further in the lead-up to the weekend.


  • Charlotte outbound tender volumes are up 12% w/w, which is a major increase in demand for outbound capacity.
  • The Headhaul Index in Charlotte is up 20% w/w, signaling that capacity is likely to tighten from a growing imbalance between outbound and inbound volumes.
  • Charlotte outbound tender rejections are relatively flat w/w, and with inbound tender rejections increasing as well, this is putting upward pressure on rates.

What does this mean for you?                                                                                
The 20% increase w/w in the Headhaul Index is being driven primarily by a large increase of 12% in outbound volumes w/w. Outbound tender rejections are relatively flat w/w, but if this trend continues, you can expect capacity to get even tighter as the imbalance between inbound and outbound volumes grows. This could put even greater upward pressure on rates.                         
Stay firm on your rates as the large surge of over 20% in the Headhaul Index is likely to shift pricing power further in your favor. It appears as if outbound volumes are positioned to climb further, so if you find any opportunities in that market, they are likely going to be paying a premium to secure capacity during the lead-up to the weekend. 
Your shipper cohorts in Charlotte are averaging 2.6 days in tender lead times. If the Headhaul Index and Outbound Tender Rejection Index continue to increase, you will likely need to increase your tender lead times closer to between 3.5 and four days to ensure covering your freight leading up to the weekend.

Watch: Carrier update

Lane to watch: Omaha, Nebraska, to Dallas

Overview: Volatility is on the rise out of Omaha.


  • The average spot rate in this lane has remained relatively stable over the past week, but the range of rates being offered has expanded significantly on the low end. 
  • Omaha’s outbound rejection rates are up over last week and remain much higher than the market average with a value close to 33%. 
  • Rejection rates to Dallas are much closer to the broader market average with a value of 12% and have moved lower at a steady pace over the past month. 

What does this mean for you?

Brokers: Test the waters on the low side of the rate range when securing capacity, but do not spend a lot of time trying to beat the market. Most carriers will be happy to move this direction if in the market. 
 Note the large disparity between the Omaha market and lane-level rejection rate to Dallas. You will have much more competition in this lane but should have much more profitable options moving in other directions. Demand has not yet started a seasonal climb out of the Dallas market. 

Shippers: Do not get too aggressive on negotiating contract rates lower in this lane. Omaha is undersupplied, which will be the greatest threat to capacity. This lane should be among the cheapest to cover out of Omaha, however.