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Market Update 4/15/2024

Logistics industry market trends you need to know.




  • Panama Canal Optimism: With recent rains alleviating drought conditions, the Panama Canal Authority is expanding transit slots for Panamax vessels. As water levels in Gatun Lake rise, the outlook for canal operations and shipping efficiencies brightens, suggesting a smoother transit flow by 2025.
  • Election Anticipations: Upcoming presidential elections in Panama could pivot canal policies significantly, especially concerning the $2 billion Indio River project that aims to increase transits and provide potable water, highlighting the strategic interplay between infrastructure and environmental stewardship.


  • Spot Rate Trends: April is anticipated to bring about a stabilization in spot rates, with potential for slight increases in specific segments due to the onset of the produce season and increased retail activity. Shippers should stay alert to these trends, leveraging opportunities for cost-effective shipping solutions amidst the evolving market landscape.
  • Spring Produce Surge: As the produce season begins, an uptick in demand for refrigerated transport aligns with historical trends. Regions such as Southern California and the US Southeast are preparing for a robust season, which may tighten reefer capacity and elevate spot rates in the short term.
  • Construction Boosts Flatbeds: Ongoing construction projects and a resurgent manufacturing sector are pushing flatbed demand. As infrastructure and development projects ramp up in the spring, the need for flatbed capacity could see significant regional increases.
  • Retail Revival: Retail sales often see a resurgence in the spring, potentially affecting van spot rates. Seasonal promotions and new product launches could contribute to a rise in demand for dry van capacity, warranting attention to potential rate hikes.


  • International Roadcheck Week (May 14th-16th)
    • Alcohol and drug substances and tractor protection systems will be the focus.
  • Broker Carrier Summit (April 22-24)


  • Tax Day was yesterday
  • Memorial Day (Monday, May 27)


Plains and Mississippi Valley: Severe Weather and Flash Flooding Risk

  • Timing: Intensifying storm system affecting the Plains on Monday, and the Mississippi Valley on Tuesday.
  • Impact: Severe thunderstorms with a chance of very large hail, damaging winds, and isolated tornadoes. An Enhanced Risk (level 3/5) of severe thunderstorms is forecast from western Nebraska/South Dakota southward through the central Plains. A Slight Risk (level 2/5) extends into the southern Plains. Isolated flash flooding is possible, particularly where storms are more widespread.

Upper Ohio Valley through the Mid-Atlantic: Scattered Severe Thunderstorms

  • Timing: Monday.
  • Impact: A slight risk of severe weather centered around the Tidewater region of Virginia. Potential hazards include large hail and damaging winds.

Northern Cascades, Northern/Central Rockies, and Eastern Great Basin: Moderate to Heavy Snowfall

  • Timing: Next couple of days.
  • Impact: Winter weather advisories/warnings in effect. Expected snow accumulations of 6-12 inches or more at higher elevations.

Central/Eastern U.S.: Well Above Average Temperatures

  • Timing: Monday.
  • Impact: Temperatures in the 80s across the central/southern Plains, Mississippi Valley, and into the Mid-Atlantic/Southeast, with some areas possibly reaching the 90s. Critical Risk of Fire Weather on Monday due to hot temperatures and dry conditions.
    WPC’s Short Range Public Discussion (noaa.gov)



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