The availability of spot truckload freight gained 4.8% and the number of trucks posted slipped 3.2% during the week ending Nov. 4, reported DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.
National average spot van and reefer rates jumped after receding for three straight weeks while the flatbed rate declined after two months of steady increases. Spot rates remain above seasonal norms:
- Van: $2.07/mile, up 4 cents
- Flatbed: $2.29/mile, down 5 cents
- Reefer: $2.37/mile, up 5 cents
The number of van load posts increased 7% as retail freight enters the truckload distribution pipeline. Combined with a 4% decline in the number of trucks posted, this sent the van load-to-truck ratio up from 5.9 to 6.3 van loads per truck. The van ratio has declined since hitting a peak of 7.0 loads per truck during the final week in September but is more than double what it was last year at this time.
Tighter capacity pushed spot market van rates higher across much of the country, as average outbound prices rose on 58 of the top 100 van lanes. Los Angeles remained the No. 1 market for van load volume: the average outbound rate gained 11 cents to $2.49/mile last week.
With holiday goods moving through the cold chain, the number of spot reefer load posts increased 18% last week. The reefer load-to-truck ratio increased from 9.7 to 11.8 loads per truck as available capacity fell 3%.
Of the top 72 reefer lanes, 39 had rising rates. Among the markets showing strength:
- Green Bay, Wisc., $3.72/mile, up 12 cents
- Chicago, $3.33/mile, up 14 cents
- Elizabeth, N.J., $2.20/mile, up 6 cents
- Los Angeles, $2.73/mile, unchanged
Rebuilding efforts in Florida and the Gulf Coast have put tremendous pressure on flatbeds lately. Compared to September, flatbed load posts were up 5% in October while truck posts climbed 12%. That resulted in a 6% decline in the load-to-truck ratio compared to the previous month's spike. At 39.5 loads per truck, the ratio last month was 172% higher than in October 2016.
The national average price of on-highway diesel ticked upward to $2.88/gallon, the highest since June 2015. All reported spot rates include fuel surcharges.
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. For the latest spot market load availability and rate information, visit dat.com/industry-trends/trendlines and join the conversation on Twitter with @LoadBoards.