Toronto, ON — Loadlink’s Canadian spot market started the year off strong with freight volumes up 13 percent compared to last December. Average daily load postings rose two percent and year-over-year, total load volumes were down only three percent compared to January 2019.
Since 2016, January load volumes have consistently outperformed the December preceding it. Interestingly, load volumes this past January were nearly identical to that of January 2017. The 2017 year saw lower volumes in the first quarter, but rose as American ELD mandates came into effect. Stabilizing cross-border trade from the new USMCA agreement and Canadian ELD mandates in 2021 may incur similar effects on volumes later this year, which could result in more loads and reduced truck availability.
Compared to last month, improved performance in load volumes for January was primarily due to a large increase of 65 percent more cross-border loads entering Canada. A 25 percent drop in outbound cross-border loads originating from Canada slightly countered this gain. Intra-Canadian load volumes declined month-over-month at a small rate of just three percent.
Overall, load volumes originating from all the United States saw increases month-over-month, but stand-out states included Illinois (+86%), Texas (+46%) and North Carolina (+132%). Ontario benefitted the most as there were nearly 50,000 (+70%) more loads destined for the province while Quebec received 20,000 (+83%) additional loads. Western Canada saw over 13,000 (+43%) more loads, with Texas contributing the most out of all the states.
Western Canada actually delivered three percent more loads to the US, but as a whole, outbound cross-border loads from Canada performed poorly. Loads destined to the states of Pennsylvania (-36%), Ohio (-42%), and Illinois (-37%) saw the largest volume loss in loads, while total loads originating from Ontario and Quebec fell 34 and 31 percent, respectively.
January equipment numbers increased eight percent while the average daily number of truck postings fell one percent month-over-month. Compared to January 2019, capacity was up two percent year-over-year.
Despite the increase in total truck availability, the volume of cross-border trucks entering the U.S. saw a big decline of 27 percent. This could have been a result of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s new Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse that may have limited some carriers from potentially heading across the border.
In January, capacity contracted four percent to a truck-to-load ratio of 2.68 from 2.78 in December. Year-over-year, January’s truck-to-load ratio increased five percent compared to a ratio of 2.54 in January 2019.