BOISE, Idaho — Robust contract rates spur freight broker optimism going into 2022, according to the latest Bloomberg and Truckstop.com survey, which polled brokerage and truckload companies.
“Optimism is driven by contract rates that appear to be catching up with the spike in spot truckload rates, which began to moderate in 3Q,” Lee Klaskow, senior freight transportation and logistics analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, said. “Volume growth and rate increases for contractual business are setting up a good year for freight brokers’ gross margins and earnings.”
The Bloomberg | Truckstop.com Truckload 2H-21 survey shows accelerating volume growth drives optimism:
About 60% of survey respondents saying volume rose in 2H from a year earlier, and 76% expecting greater demand due to positive vaccine developments, peak-season preparation and rising consumer confidence. Increased infrastructure spending could provide an added boost to trucking demand.
Brokers remain bullish about their ability to raise their contract rates with shippers over the next six months with about 56% of brokers polled expecting to raise contract rates.
About 44% of freight broker respondents had a higher gross margin in 2H than a year earlier, with 59% optimistic about gross-margin expansion over the next six months.
Rates for brokers are catching up with spot surge with about three-quarters of respondents expecting growth to continue from restocking and increased economic activity, as well as the backlog created by supply-chain dislocations. The biggest constraints on growth will likely be the availability of drivers and the ability to hire more brokers.
“Brokers are in a great position to capitalize on wider margins heading into 2022 due to a host of things including increased volume spurred by greater demand and peak season preparation,” Paris Cole, chief executive officer of Truckstop.com, said. “It’s paramount that we continue to enable brokers to more efficiently streamline their operations by providing the features and functionality they need to take advantage of the industry’s accelerated growth.”
The Bloomberg | Truckstop.com survey of survey of freight brokers provides timely channel checks into the market’s health. The most recent sample size was 161, consisting of freight forwarders, third-party logistics providers and broker agents, as well as asset and non-asset-based brokers. Most respondents (83%) have 1-50 employees. The majority of those surveyed (51%) were non-asset-based brokers.
The complete survey is available to Bloomberg Terminal subscribers via BI.
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