DAT: Reefer freight shows unexpected strength

Refrigerated freight volume showed unexpected strength as the number of posted reefer loads dipped just 1% during the week ending Dec. 26, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards. A 20% drop is more typical of a four-day work-week.

The number of posted reefer equipment declined 32%, indicating that some truckers reduced their work schedule for the holidays. This produced a reefer load-to-truck ratio of 5.2, meaning there were 5.2 reefer loads for every truck posted on the DAT network, a 45% increase compared to the previous week. The national average reefer rate was unchanged at $1.93 per mile.

Van load posts fell 22% while posted van capacity declined 33%, pushing the van load-to-truck ratio up 17% to 1.9, DAT reports. The national average van rate was unchanged at $1.71 a mile despite a 1-cent reduction in the fuel surcharge.

Flatbed load posts fell 34% and posted capacity was off by 40%. While the national flatbed load-to-truck ratio rose 12% to 7.5, the average flatbed rate fell 1 cent due to a change in the fuel surcharge.

The price of diesel continued to slide, falling 4 cents more to a national average of $2.24 per gallon.

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. All reported rates include fuel surcharges.

Load-to-truck ratios represent the number of loads posted for every truck available on DAT load boards. The load-to-truck ratio is a sensitive, real-time indicator of the balance between spot market demand and capacity. Changes in the ratio often signal impending changes in rates.

For complete national and regional reports on spot rates and demand, visit dat.com/Trendlines. DAT Trendlines is a weekly report on spot market freight availability, truck capacity, and rates.

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