Spot rates, demand for trucks stay high

The number of posted loads gained 2.5% while truck posts dipped 1.2% on the spot truckload market during the week ending June 24, said DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

Severe weather disrupted freight movement in the South but load-to-truck ratios were solid as shippers prepared for both the end of a quarter and the last full week before the July 4 holiday:

  • Van ratio: 5.5 loads per truck, up 6%
  • Reefer ratio: 10.4, up 14%
  • Flatbed ratio: 41.8, down 6%

Spot truckload rates held steady even though surcharges are on the decline: on-highway diesel fell 2 cents more to a national average of $2.47/gallon.

Van Trends

Nationally, the number of posted van loads jumped 5% while truck posts fell 1%. The average van rate was unchanged for the second straight week at $1.79/mile. That’s still a full 10 cents higher than the average for May.

Van markets to watch:

Atlanta: Major markets in the Southeast saw a surge in rates last week, due partly to the weather. Van freight from Atlanta is drawing the nation’s highest outbound average spot rate at $2.29/mile, up 10 cents compared to the previous week.

Chicago: Average outbound rates from Chicago added 4 cents to an average of $2.08/mile. Chicago-Los Angeles rose 22 cents to $1.31/mile, a surprise given how the lane is rail-competitive.

St. Louis and Laredo, Texas, were hot, too, with thousands of daily load posts and a shortage of available trucks for all trailer types.

Reefer Trends

Reefer load posts increased 10% while truck posts fell 4%. The national average rate was up a penny to $2.12/mile, and rates rose on 41 of the top 72 reefer lanes compared to only 27 in the previous week.

Atlanta was a hot market for reefers as well as vans last week thanks to all the seasonal produce leaving refrigerated warehouses and food processing plants (much of that produce originates in the Tifton and Macon markets in southern Georgia and is distributed out of Atlanta). The average outbound rate was $2.50/mile, up 5 cents. Atlanta-Chicago was up 39 cents to $2.15/mile.

Flatbed Trends

The flatbed load-to-truck ratio receded again. Flatbed load posts fell 3% while truck posts increased 3%. At $2.15/mile, the national average flatbed rate fell 1 cent compared to the previous week.

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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