What do you get when you combine pushed back demand from the coronavirus pandemic with the demand of Black Friday? You get the highest demand for truckload shipments in recent history. Since FreightWaves created the Outbound Tender Volume Index (OTVI), it is at the highest it has ever been.
FreightWaves describes outbound tender as:
“…a load offer from a shipper to a trucking company that is sent electronically. These are actual loads and are transmitted a few days before they are scheduled to be picked up. This is the most current and reliable indicator of market demand.”
The OTVI uses March 1st, 2018 as its benchmark at 10,000 units, the date of its inception. If a specific date shows an OTVI value of 11,000 then there were 10% more tenders sent out than there were on March 1st, 2018.
Before you hear the number it hit, here are some comparison numbers to consider:
- During the March coronavirus rush on toilet paper, the OTVI was around 10,800.
- In mid-April, the OTVI suffered from the economic downturn of the COVID-19 pandemic. OTVI was 8,349.
- In mid-June, as people were starting to go back to work or get new jobs with safety protocols in place, demand for non-essential goods rose. The OTVI was at 11,170.
- In mid-August, it was at 13,909.
- On November 14th, the OTVI was 15,853. For comparison, the same time last year was 9,552.
As of the writing of this article, the OTVI is at 16,408. This is almost double the number of load offers from the bottom of the year.
We have made the mistake in the past of conflating the economic recovery of the United States with the end of the pandemic, so we will not do that again. The pandemic will not disappear until enough vaccines are distributed to ensure that new viral infection rates are a trickle.
At the same time, the trucking industry refuses to be stopped by COVID-19. By just about every metric, the trucking industry is not just surviving the coronavirus pandemic (despite stumbling in its early months), it is thriving. It is hard to say how long this trucking boom will last and if it will remain after the epidemic ends, but hopefully everyone will enjoy the ride for as long as it is here. Business is good.