DAT: Spot TL rates continue to edge higher

National average spot truckload rates for van, refrigerated, and flatbed freight rose during the week ending May 6, with van and reefer rates at their highest marks since January, said DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

The number of available loads on DAT load boards fell 6% compared to the previous week while capacity was virtually unchanged, down 0.4%. Load-to-truck ratios increased for reefer freight on the strength of produce season but dipped for vans and flatbeds:

  • Van ratio: 3.3 loads per truck, down 3%
  • Reefer ratio: 6.5, up 11%
  • Flatbed ratio: 39.4, down 12%

Van Trends

The national average van rate climbed to $1.70/mile amid a 3% decline in freight volume while truck posts held steady. Lanes with rising rates continue to outnumber falling lanes on a week-to-week basis, with 52 of the top 100 lanes higher, 37 paying less, and 17 unchanged.

Average outbound van rates in key markets:

  • Los Angeles: $2.02/mile, up 4 cents
  • Chicago: $1.89/mile, down 1 cent
  • Atlanta: $1.92/mile, up 1 cents
  • Philadelphia: $1.64/mile, down 4 cents

Houston averaged $1.73/mile, up 5 cents. Two notable lanes showed increases: Houston-Chicago up 13 cents to $1.47/mile and Houston-New Orleans also 13 cents higher to $2.38/mile.

Reefer Trends

The national average spot reefer rate moved 3 cents higher to $1.97/mile as load posts increased 9% while truck posts declined 2%. Key trend: spot rates out of California are trending up thanks to tomato production. That’s good for reefer freight but processed and canned tomatoes in paste and sauces are also a boon for vans. From June to October last year, California shipped 500,000 loads of processed tomato products.

Flatbed Trends

Flatbed load posts decreased 12% while truck posts were unchanged. The national average spot flatbed rate edged up 2 cents to $2.09/mile, its highest mark in nearly two years.

Key lanes showed volatility:

  • Las Vegas-Los Angeles, $2.96/mile, up 64 cents
  • Las Vegas-Stockton, $1.98/mile, down 60 cents
  • Reno-Los Angeles, $2.33/mile, up 39 cents
  • Harrisburg-Springfield, Mass., $3.78/mile, down 31 cents
  • Savannah-Charlotte, $3.48/mile, up 55 cents
  • Rock Island, Ill.-Grand Rapids, $2.91/mile, up 47 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. 

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

TAGS: News
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