Freight Volume Rebounds to Pre-Pandemic Levels

As we move into the back half of May, the freight market is starting to show signs of an expedited rebound.  

Currently, we are seeing signs of recovery. However, fluctuations are likely, and the road back to typical conditions will be bumpy.   

Most states across the US have opened for business in some capacity. Even New York has taken steps to reopen portions of the state that have been less affected by the virus than NYC 

These conditions have caused a more favorable freight environment. As a result, the trucking market had its most positive week since March. 

Volume increases started mid-last week and have steadily climbed since then, exceeding 2019 levels. According to an article published in FreightWaves, “Tender volumes are racing to the upside and are tracking positive year-over-year in May, albeit off of a depressed 2019 comparison. Volumes have risen more than 15% since the trough on April 16. 

However, reject rates from drivers are still down currently, and the DAT Power Index still leans in favor of shippers. 

As long as vendors have a two-to-three-day lead time on orders, they will have no issue covering them in most markets at cost.  

But same-day or next-day requests are now more difficult to cover in certain markets. That is especially the case for outbound freight in southern states and California where produce season is in full swing. 

With Memorial Day Weekend coming up, carriers will require more lead time to cover orders. It is best that you prepare ahead of time to avoid holiday rate hikes or service disruptions.  

We expect cross-industry reopening, combined with produce season, to continue to tighten capacity regionally in the coming weeks.   

Regional Freight Volume Update 

Zipline operates with a unique carrier team setup, splitting our experts into four regions for optimal service. Each group oversees freight that enters their region and plans for specific market trends in their respective states. Here is what each region is seeing currently:  

Northeast Logistics  

      • No issues covering loads throughout the market, except for outbound freight from California, South Texas, Georgia, and Florida to the Northeast as capacity is tighter. Shippers should give ample lead time to reduce costs and ensure the order picks up on time. 
      • Warehouses in New Jersey and New York are reopening in the next 10-20 days and we expect to see an increase in outbound volume as a result. 
      • We expect rates in these markets to fluctuate week to week based on capacity and demand. 

Midwest Logistics 

      • Produce season is impacting some outbound lanes from the Southeast to the Midwest as capacity tightens. 
      • Outbound California refrigerated freight into the Midwest is proving difficult to cover for same-day or even next-day requests. 
      • Outbound New Jersey into the Midwest is still slow with loose capacity. 
      • Carriers are holding trucks a bit longer now after a month of declines. Increasing lead times will help keep costs in line or near the market rates. 

Southeast Logistics  

      • South Texas is heating up for outbound volume as capacity tightens in relation to more orders. Covering freight ahead of time with backhaul carriers will prove crucial for lowering or maintaining rates. 
      • Anything inbound to the Southeast should be easy to cover for next day requests.  
      • Refrigerated freight from California to the Southeast remains difficult to book with limited capacity. 
      • Outbound freight from Florida and the Carolinas have seen rate increases and capacity shrinking as a result of produce season. These markets will continue to be tricky. Additional lead time has been critical and will continue to be essential to reduce costs. 

Westcoast Logistics 

      • California refrigerated freight has recovered. With produce in full swing, capacity has been strained by increased demand. Rates have also increased.   
      • Pacific Northwest is showing positive signs of recovery as outbound refrigerated rates increase. 
      • Moving freight into California markets should be more favorable as carriers look to capitalize on outbound volumes. 
      • Southern California’s capacity has continued to tighten daily. Most rates are on the high end of the index. 

State-By-State COVID-19 Reopening Status  

To help our customers understand where each of the lower 48 states stands in allowing businesses to reopen, we have compiled a list of state mandates in effect. We will update this information every week until restrictions are completely lifted.   


Status: Open   

The state is allowing most businesses to reopen including gyms, salons, restaurants, bars, and breweries. It has also recently lifted the ban on non-work gatherings and will allow those as well with no size restrictions.   

Shipping in or out of Alabama should be back to pre-pandemic difficulty.  


Status: Open   

Most state businesses are permitted to reopen with few restrictions. Gov. Doug Ducey is allowing dine-in services at restaurants.   

Shippers should expect pre-pandemic operations in Arizona.   


Status: Open  

Arkansas was one of seven states with no formal lockdown orders. There are few restrictions for businesses so shippers moving freight in or out of Arkansas should not expect to see any disruption from closures.   


Status: Mostly Open  

California Governor Gavin Newsome has allowed retailers to reopen; however, some restrictions remain in place. But the state is moving toward almost total reopen in the coming weeks.    

When shipping to or from California, check to ensure that facilities are online and operational. However, shippers should not expect much difficulty.    


Status: Partially Open  

Following the expiration of the stay-at-home order on April 27, Colorado has begun a “safer at home” phase of reopening.   

This order allows for non-essential business to resume on May 4 and elective medical procedures to begin again. Restaurants, however, remain closed until May 25 when Gov. Jared Polis will reevaluate the situation.  

Shipping to or from Colorado should not be restricted.   


Status: Restricted   

The East Coast has taken the brunt of the COVID-19 outbreak and continues to extend more restrictive measures to keep the pandemic in check.   

Connecticut officials have issued a mandatory shutdown until May 20.   

It may be a challenge to make retail deliveries in this region until that time.   


Status: Restricted  

Despite its small population, Delaware’s stay-at-home order was extended until June 1 when the state will begin reopening.  

Freight moves in or out of Delaware could be impacted by closures for the time being. It is prudent to check with supply chain partners to ensure they are operating as normal in Delaware.    

District of Columbia 

Status: Restricted  

The nation’s capital has extended its stay-at-home order recently; however, the city’s mayor stated it is six days away from meeting reopening criteria.  

If shipping to or from DC, ensure your supply chain partners can handle freight.   


Status: Open  

Florida lifted most of its restrictions on May 4 and commerce returned to a near pre-pandemic state.   

Only bars, gyms, schools, and salons will remain closed. Shipping to and from Florida should be undisrupted.   


Status: Open  

Georgia made headlines after being the first state to lift virus-related restrictions on businesses. The state has allowed all facilities to reopen if they follow proper social distancing guidelines.   

Shipping in or out of Georgia should not be an issue for vendors.   


Status: Mostly Open  

The governor’s stay-at-home order expired at the end of April. Idaho plans to gradually reopen all facilities by the end of May.   

Expect shipping in or out of Idaho to be unaffected by restrictions.   


Status: Partially Open   

Illinois officials have extended the state’s stay-at-home order through the end of May but has built-in more flexibility for facilities to reopen where it is safe.    

Transportation could be impacted in Illinois, especially around the greater Chicago area. Shippers should check facilities’ availability before delivery.   


Status: Open  

The state’s shelter-in-place order expired on May 1 and was not extended.   

Most businesses are open and have limited occupancy restrictions. Shipping in or out of Indiana should not be interrupted 


Status: Open  

Businesses throughout the state are open with limited restrictions. Restaurants, gyms, and retailers are open at 50 percent capacity.   

Vendors should not expect much transportation disruption in Iowa.   


Status: Open   

The state’s stay-at-home order has expired, and businesses have reopened throughout the state including malls and fitness centers.  

Shippers should not expect much logistics disruption in Kansas.   


Status: Partially Open   

Some portions of the state’s economy were reopened on May 11. Manufacturers, construction outfits, vehicle dealerships, and professional services are now operating at 50% capacity. On May 20, the state plans to reopen retailers and by mid-June, most businesses will completely reopen including movie theaters, gyms, and childcare facilities.   

When currently shipping to or from Kentucky, you should ensure your supply chain partners are operational until the end of May.  


Status: Mostly Open   

Louisiana’s shelter-in-place order expired on May 15 and businesses can start to reopen with precaution.    

Currently, some vendors have reopened with limits so shippers could face some logistics difficulty in Louisiana. Ensure that supply chain partners are online before conducting business in the state.   


Status: Open   

Maine reopened its economy on May 1. The governor’s plan permits businesses to open if they can maintain physical distance.   

Shipping into or out of Maine should be mostly unrestricted despite the stay-at-home order that remains in place until the end of May.   


Status: Open  

The state’s stay-at-home order expired on May 15 and was not extended. As a result, retailers, manufacturers, and other businesses can resume normal operations with a 50 percent capacity restriction.  

This size limit should not impact shippers, but it may still be necessary to check with supply chain partners to ensure that they are operational.  


Status: Open  

Governor Charlie Baker recently lifted restrictions on business closures. Employers can restart operations if they meet the safety standards set in place by the state 

Shippers should check with their supply chain partners to determine their status; however, most businesses are coming back online.   


Status: Partially Open  

Some of Michigan’s stay-at-home order was relaxed at the end of April and recently allowed manufacturing work to resume; however, the formal order was extended until May 28.   

Automakers were permitted to restart operations on May 18, but some businesses remain restricted 

Shippers should check with supply chain partners when doing business in Michigan.   


Status: Open  

Businesses were permitted to reopen on May 18 after the stay-at-home order expired. They must maintain proper safety precautions and capacity is limited to 50 percent.  

Vendors should not expect disruption but should ensure that their supply chain partners are operational when shipping to or from Minnesota.   


Status: Open   

Mississippi’s stay-at-home order expired on May 11. Currently, the state has a “Safer at Home” order in action. It suggests that Mississippians should only travel for essential reasons. Gatherings of 10 or more for non-essential reasons are banned.   

Because of varying restrictions on businesses, shippers should check with supply chain partners to see if their operation is impacted.   


Status: Open  

All Missouri businesses resumed normal operations on May 4 with limited public health guidelines.   

Shippers should not expect any closures or difficulty in Missouri.   


Status: Open  

Most businesses were permitted to open on May 4; however, gyms, movie theaters, and other places of assembly where social distancing is not possible will not resume operations.   

Those shippers with freight in Montana should not expect much difficulty but may want to check with supply chain partners before shipment.   


Status: Open   

All businesses, aside from bars and indoor theaters, are open with few occupancy or safety restrictions.   

Nebraska has not issued a stay-at-home order since the outbreak, so vendors should not expect shipping issues.   


Status:  Open   

The state’s stay-at-home order has been lifted and businesses, aside from bars, theaters, and casinos, are able to resume operations.   

Suppliers should check with partners in Nevada to ensure their operations are not affected but should not expect much difficulty.  

New Hampshire 

Status: Open   

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu has issued a “Stay at Home 2.0” order. It restricts certain aspects but allows, businesses to reopen in the middle of May.   

Retailers and restaurants have now reopened, but with limited capacity. Shippers should not expect difficulty but should check with New Hampshire supply chain partners before confirming orders in the state.   

New Jersey  

Status: Partially Open  

New Jersey has an open-ended stay-at-home order on the books. The Northeast state has been hit hard by the pandemic. However, many of its industries are coming back online and retailers were permitted to open with modified curbside pickup.  

Shippers should continue to check with New Jersey logistics partners regarding their capabilities.   

New Mexico 

Status: Open  

The governor of New Mexico extended the stay-at-home order through May 31. However, most businesses, including retailers, have reopened.   

Vendors need to ensure whether their partners in New Mexico are operational.   

New York 

Status: Partially Open  

Despite its status as the initial epicenter of the virus’ outbreak, New York is making progress toward fully reopening. Areas outside New York City have begun restarting operations with few restrictions.  

However, NYC has not begun reopening and vendors should determine whether New York supply chain partners are operational before shipping.   

North Carolina 

Status: Open   

The state reopened many businesses on May 8 including childcare facilities.   

Most businesses are gradually reopening, and retailers have upped their capacity restrictions.   

Shippers should not expect difficulty in North Carolina.   

North Dakota 

Status: Open  

North Dakota has lifted public health restrictions on businesses.   

Vendors should not expect much friction when shipping in or out of the state.   


Status: Open  

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine extended the state’s stay-at-home order through the end of May. However, retailers and other services are open. The state will also begin to allow dine-in restaurant services as early as next week.   

Vendors should expect commerce to resume at pre-pandemic norms in Ohio.   


Status: Open  

All Oklahoma businesses, except bars, are open with some social distancing restrictions.   

Vendors should not except many issues when shipping to or from Oklahoma.   


Status: Open  

Following a court ruling that invalidated Oregon Gov. Kate Brown’s restrictions, the state is open for business.  

Shippers should expect normal business to resume in Oregon in the coming weeks.    


Status: Partially Open  

The Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has announced a graduated reopening plan that will allow less affected areas to open first. However, in hot spots, business will not likely resume until June.   

Vendors need to check with partners to see their operations are currently impacted.   

Rhode Island  

Status: Partially Open   

Rhode Island has begun reopening the state in stages according to Governor Gina Raimondo. This resume in operations includes most businesses aside from gyms and entertainment venues.   

Those shipping in or out of Rhode Island should ensure their supply chain partners are online but should not expect much disruption in the state.   

South Carolina  

Status: Open  

Most businesses were permitted to resume on April 20, which includes retailers and department stores.   

Shippers should not anticipate many supply chain issues in South Carolina.   

South Dakota 

Status: Open  

South Dakota has not issued any stay-at-home guidance nor has restricted any business in the state.   


Status: Open  

Despite a stay-at-home order, which is in effect until May 30, most businesses in the state are open including retailers, gyms, and restaurants.   

Suppliers should not expect any operational restrictions in Tennessee.   


Status: Open  

Texas businesses, aside from workout facilities and non-essential offices, are open with few restrictions.   

Some stores and businesses have occupancy limits, but those should not affect shippers in the state.   


Status: Open   

The state has not issued a formal stay-at-home order since the pandemic’s arrival in the US. Commerce should not be impacted.   


Status: Open   

The state’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order that expired May 15. This mandate allows many businesses to reopen while maintaining health guidelines.   

Shippers should check with supply chain partners to check their operational capabilities before completing orders in Vermont but should not face many issues.   


Status: Partially Open  

Governor Ralph Northam has issued a stay-at-home order through June 10. However, certain businesses were permitted to resume operations on May 15   

Vendors need to ensure their logistics operations will not be disrupted when doing business in Virginia.   


Status: Partially Open 

Washington’s stay-at-home order was extended to May 31, but many businesses have been permitted to resume modified operations.  

Suppliers should check with partners in the state before shipping in or out of Washington.   

West Virginia 

Status: Open  

The state’s stay-at-home order expired on May 4 and business resumed without many restrictions.   

Shippers should not expect to deal with logistics interruptions in West Virginia.   


Status: Open  

The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled Gov. Tony Evers’ restrictions were outside the limits of the office’s authority. As a result, most businesses have resumed operations.  

Vendors will not likely have any issue when shipping to or from Wisconsin.   


Status: Open  

The state has not issued a stay-at-home order and all businesses have reopened with few health restrictions.  

Shippers should not expect many issues when shipping to or from Wyoming.   

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