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Spot truckload freight volumes surge again

Spot truckload freight volumes surged after Thanksgiving, as the number of loads posted on the DAT network of load boards jumped 64% during the week ending Dec. 2. The number of available trucks gained 22%, DAT reported.

While the large increase in loads and trucks posted is in line with expectations when you compare a long week to a shorter workweek, strong demand for capacity has pushed spot rates unseasonably high:

  • Reefer: $2.43/mile, unchanged compared to the previous week
  • Van: $2.09/mile, up 2 cents
  • Flatbed: $2.30/mile, up 1 cent

Spot van and refrigerated freight rates reached three-year highs in November as a monthly average.

In the reefer market, the number of load posts jumped 55% while truck posts increased 12% last week, propelling the reefer load-to-truck ratio up 40% to 13.2 loads per truck. Several outbound reefer markets experienced double-digit average rate increases:

  • Los Angeles, $2.14/mile, up 25 cents
  • Dallas, $2.31/mile, up 10 cents
  • Philadelphia, $3.17/mile, up 25 cents
  • McAllen, Texas $2.23/mile, up 21 cents

Van load post activity increased 68% and truck posts gained 23% as retail goods made their way across the country from West to East. The van load-to-truck ratio jumped 37% from 6.8 to 9.3 loads per truck and rates moved higher in Midwest and Eastern U.S. markets as shippers position holiday freight near major population centers. The average outbound van rate from Columbus, Ohio, added 9 cents to $2.66/mile, Philadelphia gained 4 cents to $2.05/mile, and Dallas increased a penny to $1.89/mile last week.

Flatbed load and truck posts increased, as expected, following the Thanksgiving holiday. The number of load posts gained 67% and truck posts 42%, which caused the load-to-truck ratio to rise 18% to 30.6 loads per truck.

Rates are derived from DAT RateView, which provides real-time reports on prevailing spot market and contract rates, as well as historical rate and capacity trends. RateView's comprehensive database is comprised of more than $33 billion in freight bills in over 65,000 lanes. All reported rates include fuel surcharges. For the latest spot market load availability and rate information, visit dat.com/industry-trends/trendlines and join the conversation on Twitter with @LoadBoards.

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