Truckstop.com, in partnership with FTR, introduced its Rate Forecasting tool during the FTR and CSCMP conferences in September. Rate Forecasting is a lane-by-lane rate forecast which projects spot market rates using more than 10 years' of paid rate data.
The rate forecasting service will enable customers to plan based on how rates are expected to fluctuate in the days, weeks and months ahead. It also can provide rate analysis for specific markets and down to the lane level.
"Brokers, carriers and shippers can benefit from this information through improved budgeting, benchmarking and business planning," said Brent Hutto, Truckstop.com chief relationship officer.
"We're offering really specific information that can help our customers adjust, anticipate and predict rates and make more informed business decisions," Hutto added.
Rate Forecasting uses a "Big Data" back-end to analyze 10 years of market trends from across the Truckstop.com marketplace, as well as FTR's proprietary economic modeling algorithm that measures 13 million data points each month. The result is a forecast showing the very different trends on each of 160,000 lanes (state to state and 3-digit zip) and 6 million origin/destination pairs.
"We look really hard at the historical data. We never have before. Now we're able to," said Noël Perry, who serves as FTR and Truckstop.com's chief economist. "We look at how the market has been trending and what's been driving that trend such as the economy, fuel prices and productivity."
Zach Green, senior analyst for Ryder Logistics, said he anticipates using the solution to make quick and data-driven decisions on shipping rates, contracts, and strategic business planning.
"The set-up is very user friendly and the forecasting is something I haven't seen with other rating tools," Green said. "That should be extremely beneficial when we're presenting a quote to a customer or prospect on freight that is contractual or recurring, as predicting future rate trends has been a major challenge."
"Rate Forecasting balances seasonal, geographic, random, economic, regulatory, and permanent trends on each lane with deep statistical modeling, better than a human can on the fly," Perry said. "Spot rate forecasting is not impossible, if you combine a little common sense and this tool."