May Survey Results: How the COVID-19 Pandemic Is Impacting Shippers & Carriers

Over the past three months in our Coyote Insights newsletter, we asked shippers and carriers to weigh in on how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting their businesses.

The results from our 3rd reader poll are in.

Here's what we learned.


Carrier: May Results

After another month of 'non-essential' business closures and widespread sheltering-in-place, carriers continued to struggle, with 75% of respondents* agreeing that it has been much more difficult to find loads over the past month. 

Though we have seen several signs pointing to incremental improvement in demand, it hasn't caused a significant boost in carrier sentiment yet. 

For a more in-depth look at current market conditions and an updated forecast, read or watch our Q2 Coyote Curve update. 


Carrier: 3 Months of COVID-19

In March, before the full effect of the pandemic gripped the U.S. economy, we asked carriers how they anticipated the next month would unfold.

Though the negative impact of COVID-19 disruption has been much more severe than most imagined, it appears we may be through the worst of it. 

Let's compare May's results against the past two months. 


Coyote insights COVID-19 March-may carrier poll results

On the downside: 

  • A vast majority of respondents (86%) felt it was more difficult to find freight 
  • "Much More Difficult" respondent total was slightly higher than April (+1%) 

Positive signs:

  • Though 86% thought it was more difficult, it's a 5% decrease vs. April (91%)
  • May's "Much Easier" respondent total increased 6%


Shipper: May Results

Unsurprisingly, many shippers are still feeling the negative impacts, with 54% noting a reduction in volume during May. 

Compared to carriers, the overall response was much more mixed, as several industry sectors (grocery, CPG, ecommerce) are booming — 27% of respondents* noted an increase in volume. 


Shipper: 3 Months of COVID-19

Similar to carriers, though May's shipper results show profound negative impacts, we may be through the worst of it.

Let's compare May's results against the past two months. 


On the downside:

  • A majority of respondents (54%) are still shipping less freight

Positive signs:

  • Sentiment is moving towards the center, with "Significant Reduction" decreasing 7% vs. April, "Slight Reduction" increasing 3%, and "No Change" increasing 5%


Survey Takeaways

  • The coronavirus is still having a profound impact on truckload volume.
  • A vast majority of carriers are still having a tough time keeping their fleets loaded.
  • Many shippers are still slowed down, but the impact is more varied vs. carriers.
  • Though demand is still far below average for this time of year, May's results from both shippers and carriers indicate that the worst could be behind us. 


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*Respondent totals were as follows: 
Carrier: n=252 (March); n=142 (April); n=218 (May)
Shipper: n=81 (March); n=80 (April); n=61 (May)

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