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North American market update: June 2023

Transportation Update


Diesel national average now stands at $3.883/gal. as of 5/23.

  • For the 16th time in 17 weeks, the benchmark price used for most diesel fuel surcharges declined.
  • Price is down 73.9 cents from the $4.622/gallon price it stood at before beginning the recent run of declines.
  • Price stands at its lowest level since Jan. 31, 2022, when it was $3.846 a gallon.
  • The price is $1.688 less than a year ago.
chart titled Diesel National Average (charts shows decline from February 2023 through May 2023)

The forecast for diesel prices has again been revised down per the EIA on May 9th from their previous forecast on April 11th.

U.S. Retail Diesel Prices (Dollars per gallon)$3.90$3.62
Previous Forecast$4.11$3.87
Percentage Change-4.9%-6.4%

In the short term, diesel is starting to see inventory levels tighten which may stall efforts to see a continued downtrend.


A slowing economy and high inventories continue to stifle the truckload market.

  • Tonnage dropped in April by 3.4% YoY
  • Weakened imports are contributing to lower volumes.
  • Elevated uncertainty about the economy and consumer confidence are causing businesses to be cautious about placing orders.
  • Truckload demand is 1 -2% lower than one year ago while supply is 6 -7% higher.
  • Until the oversupply of capacity is thinned out, rates will not increase.
  • Smaller carriers have locked in dedicated contracts to survive, which has slowed attrition compared to previous downturns.
chart titled active truck utilization outlook
chart titled van load-to-truck ratio
Source: DAT Freight

Truckload Rates

  • Spot rates have fallen in 14 of the last 15 months.
  • Spot rates have fallen 26% YoY.
  • Spot rates fell .11/mi from March to April.
  • Contracted rates fell .07/mi from March to April.
chart titled van rates
Source: DAT Freight
map titled national van rates
Source: DAT Freight


FedEx Freight stated that it will be closing 29 freight locations and furloughing certain job classes.

  • Furloughs will start May 28.
  • They aim to consolidate operations to adjust to market demand and changing dynamics.
  • The locations are planned to be closed effective Aug. 13.

ODFL reported a 3.5% decrease in LTL services in Q1.

  • They also lowered forecasts for the remainder of 2023.

UPS employees are threatening to strike at the end of July.

  • Both sides are optimistic that an agreement can be reached before July 31st.
  • The 24 million packages UPS ships on an average day, amounts to about a quarter of all U.S. parcel volume.
  • UPS says they deliver the equivalent of about 6% of the nation’s gross domestic product.

LTL Rates

The revised LTL rate forecast is for a YoY decrease of 2.4% excluding fuel.

chart titled rate outlook: contract LTL

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