DAT: Spot load-to-truck ratios, rates jump

Load-to-truck ratios for spot truckload freight jumped sharply for all three equipment types during the week ending June 10, with the van ratio reaching its highest point in three years, said DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

The number of available loads on DAT load boards was up 30% compared to the previous week, which was shortened by the Memorial Day holiday and included the annual Roadcheck inspection blitz. A 20% increase is more in line with expectations.

Brokers and shippers paid a premium for capacity in most major markets and lanes. Load-to-truck ratios reflected the increased freight activity:

  • Van ratio: 5.7 loads per truck, up 12%
  • Reefer ratio: 10.1, up 33%
  • Flatbed ratio: 49.2, up 27%

Van Trends

Nationally, the number of posted van loads increased 12% while truck posts were 8% higher. The national average van rate gained 6 cents to $1.79/mile, continuing a run of week-over-week increases. Outbound rates were up in almost every major van freight market:

  • Los Angeles: $2.28/mile, up 10 cents
  • Chicago: $2.06/mile, up 6 cents
  • Dallas: $1.76/mile, up 3 cents
  • Charlotte: $2.16/mile, up 11 cents
  • Philadelphia: $1.73/mile, up 5 cents

Of the top 100 van lanes, only 26 had lower rates.

Reefer Trends

Reefer load posts increased 30% while truck posts fell 2%, which helped move the national average rate 7 cents higher to $2.11/mile. California shipments are expected to stay strong at least through the Fourth of July, and a few lanes crossed the $3 mark: 

  • Fresno-Denver surged 61 cents to $3.14/mile
  • Los Angeles-Portland, Oregon, was up 45 cents to $3.33/mile
  • Sacramento-Portland added 50 cents to 3.21/mile
  • Sacramento-Salt Lake City rose 27 cents to an average of $3.00/mile

Florida outbound rates tumbled, including Lakeland-Charlotte, which plunged 84 cents to an average of $1.82/mile.

Flatbed Trends

The flatbed load-to-truck ratio skyrocketed as load posts increased 38% while truck posts increased 9%. The national average rate increased 3 cents last week to $2.15/mile, the highest weekly average rate in nearly two years. Flatbed demand can be volatile and shifts on a lane-by-lane basis. Key movers last week: Las Vegas ($2.82/mile, up 36 cents), Cleveland ($2.31/mile, up 11 cents), and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania ($3.41/mile, up 2 cents).

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. 

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