Easter timing and cold spring weather have tempered retail trends, according to a recent report by Baird Equity Research.
Baird said industrial trends have moderated creating a softer-than-expected start to the second quarter in freight demand. Some carriers remain optimistic that delayed retail demand will support volumes in May and June.
Spot freight demand trends were soft through April but carriers have noted that the supply/demand dynamic remains near equilibrium.
Core truckload pricing growth improved between 1.5 to 2% in the first quarter from the year ago period, according to Baird.
The pricing growth has been supported by rising costs and disciplined capacity deployment among carriers. One contact noted shippers have been amenable to rate increases during bid season.