By Mark Montague of DAT Solutions
The freight recession is over. That 18-month malaise was triggered by the worldwide collapse of oil prices at the end of 2014. Energy exploration and fracking petered out, and the accompanying freight dried up. Fuel prices dropped, and carrier revenues fell due to the declining fuel surcharges. To add insult to injury, line haul rates fell, too, in a cycle of year-over-year declines that lasted through the middle of 2016.
Freight volume and rates finally began to revive in May 2016, and year-over-year volume comparisons turned positive in August. Instead of tapering off after October, as retail freight did in years past, a boom market emerged for truckload transportation in November and December. E-commerce was a major source of spot market freight for what is usually a quiet season, boosting truckload rates to a surprise peak in the last two months of the year.
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