Daily Tip: FreightWaves’ National Truckload Index (NTI)

Ashley McAvoyDaily Tips

Did you know? The truckload spot market leads longer term pricing trends by ~90 days on average. 

Each day we’ll send you a daily tip designed to guide you to become a SONAR expert. If you have any questions, please contact your Customer Success Representative or email the team at [email protected]

FreightWaves’ National Truckload Index (NTI) is a national truckload spot rate index based on an average of booked dry van loads reported daily. The NTI is a 7-day moving average of rate submissions from FreightWaves’ Trusted Rate Assessment Consortium (TRAC) of 250,000 lanes. It includes fuel and eliminates loads moving less than 250 miles. The NTI has numerous derivatives, including but not limited to daily (NTID), business day (NTIB), and linehaul only (NTIL), which excludes estimated fuel costs.  


Analysts: Analysts can use the NTI indices to measure supply and demand conditions in the trucking industry. The trucking industry is an accurate barometer for macroeconomic goods demand as well as domestic supply chain health. 

Carriers: Carriers can use the NTI to see if trucking capacity is sufficient in the near-term. When the NTI trends higher, demand for carrier services is on the rise and you do not have to be as aggressive when pricing long-term contracts and vice versa. 

Brokers: The NTI tells brokers when to expect trucking spot rates to rise and fall as well as when capacity is tightening and loosening so sourcing strategies can be adjusted. 

Shippers: Shippers can use the NTI to see when to expect either compliance/service deterioration or improvement and also when they will have increasing or decreasing leverage when negotiating long-term pricing with carriers. 

The NTI tells you when truckload capacity conditions are changing rapidly. When prices increase on the spot market there is a shortage of available capacity in relation to demand. This means trucks will be more difficult to find and service will deteriorate as prices inflate. When prices decline on the spot market, it is an indication that capacity is becoming easier to source and service should improve with no upward pressure on long-term contract rates. The magnitude of the change and length of time of the trend are extremely useful in defining whether or not you need to employ a quick-hitting, short-term strategy or a longer term maneuver. 

Knowing which environment you are operating in can save you significant time and money as well as help you understand a large portion of the current economic environment.  

1)  Viewing NTI on a chart:

  • Click on the blue plus sign (+) in the top right of the SONAR screen. 
  • Click Add a Chart.
  • Type “NTI.USA” in the Enter Symbol box at the top left of the chart.  


Pro Tip: When using the Market Dashboard, turn on the NTID in the top left corner of the chart to compare your lane rate history to the NTID. 

If you have questions about the National Truckload Index (NTI) or its derivatives , please contact us at [email protected] 

Happy Hauling,

The FW Team