DAT: Spot flatbed market continues to build

As freight volume builds ahead of the start of the penalty phase of the ELD mandate and Easter weekend, national average spot rates hold firm.

The number of loads posted to the DAT network of load boards jumped 3.6% and truck capacity increased 1.3% during the week ending March 24. Load-to-truck ratios, which reflect the number of available loads for every truck on the spot market, strengthened as a result:

  • Flatbed ratio: 87.7; that’s three straight weeks in the 86-to-88 range
  • Van ratio: 6.9, up slightly compared to the previous week
  • Reefer ratio: 10.5, up 3.7% from 10.1

With freight volume building ahead of the end of Q1, the start of the penalty phase of the ELD mandate, and Easter weekend, national average spot rates held firm:

  • Flatbed rate: $2.52/mile, up 2 cents to the highest rate since Summer 2014
  • Van rate: $2.13/mile, down a penny compared to the previous week
  • Reefer rate: $2.40/mile, unchanged for the fourth week in a row

FLATBED OVERVIEW: Flatbed load volume on DAT load boards rose 5.6%, building on a 9% increase the previous week. Arizona was the only state in the lower 48 with a flatbed load-to-truck ratio below 18.

Of the Top 75 flatbed lanes, rates were lower on just 25 last week. Rock Island, Ill., saw the average flatbed rate rise 22 cents to $3.61/mile. Houston rates are close to $3.00/mile on high-volume lanes—another good sign for truckers hauling out of the nation’s biggest energy freight hub.

VAN OVERVIEW: The number of available van loads rose 2% versus a 1% increase in the number of truck posts. Spot rates were higher on 57 of DAT’s Top 100 van lanes. Key van markets:

  • Houston: $2.11/mile, up 1 cent compared to the previous week. The average outbound rate has increased 8.6% over the past four weeks
  • Columbus, Ohio: $2.68/mile, up 5 cents
  • Buffalo, N.Y.: $2.62/mile, up 7 cents

REEFER OVERVIEW: Reefer load posts increased 3% while truck posts were virtually unchanged. Average rates on several key reefer lanes made big gains last week: 

  • Grand Rapids, Mich.-Philadelphia, up 21 cents to $4.05/mile
  • Philadelphia-Boston, up 15 cents to $4.58/mile
  • Dallas-Houston, up 9 cents to $2.93/mile

Average rates from two bellwether outbound produce markets were lower: Lakeland, Fla., was down 3 cents to $1.66/mile, while Atlanta fell 4 cents to $2.73/mile.

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. For the latest spot market load availability and rate information, visit dat.com/trendlines and join the conversation on Twitter with @LoadBoards.

TAGS: News Economics
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