truck capacity

Spot rates dip seasonally, capacity increases 8.3%

National average spot truckload rates declined for the third straight week but remained higher than at any point in 2017 during the week ending Jan. 27, said DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

The van and flatbed rate each fell 1 cent to $2.26/mile and $2.39/mile respectively. The rate for refrigerated freight decreased 3 cents to $2.67/mile as produce and other temperature-controlled goods experience a seasonal lull.

Spot load-to-truck ratios have eased off from record highs as the number of available loads fell 3.0% and capacity increased 8.3% compared to the previous week:

  • Van: 8.5 available loads per truck, down from 9.8
  • Flatbed: 53.9 loads per truck, unchanged
  • Refrigerated: 12.8 loads per truck, falling from 12.8

Spot van volumes declined 5% and truck posts increased 10%. Van rates fell in major markets: 

  • Chicago, $2.92/mile, down 15 cents
  • Columbus, Ohio, $2.78/mile, down 9 cents
  • Philadelphia, $2.34/mile, down 10 cents
  • Charlotte, $2.57/mile, down 5 cents
  • Los Angeles, $2.42/mile, down 12 cents

In the reefer market, load posts fell 14% and truck posts increased 4%. The national average reefer rate dipped despite strong prices in key markets including Green Bay ($4.18/mile, up 18 cents), McAllen, Texas ($2.95/mile, down 4 cents), Atlanta ($2.89/mile, down 4 cents), and Los Angeles ($3.19/mile, down 13 cents). 

Spot prices for flatbed freight remain seasonally high: the national average flatbed rate slipped 1 cent to $2.39/mile but is buoyed by stronger construction and oilfield activity.

One stat to watch: the national average price of on-highway diesel fuel is $3.03/gallon, and all U.S. regions are experiencing an increase compared with a year ago. Spot truckload freight rates include a fuel surcharge portion.

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 and join the conversation on Twitter with @LoadBoards.

TAGS: News Economics
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