A four-day work week would normally account for a 20-25% decline in the number of posted loads, but load availability was down just 9% during the week ending June 4—a good sign for the spot market. Load-to-truck ratios for vans, reefers, and flatbeds all increased as a result.
National Rates Climb
The national average spot van rate jumped 8 cents or 5.2% to $1.62/mile compared to the previous week. The reefer rate added 6 cents for a national average of $1.93/mile while the average flatbed rate was up 1 cent to $1.93/mile. The national average price of diesel rose 3 cents to $2.41/gallon, which pushed fuel surcharges up a penny for van and flatbed freight, and up 2 cents for reefers.
L/T Ratios Up
While the number of loads posted fell 9%, the number of available trucks dropped off by 27%, more in line with a four-day workweek. The van load-to-truck ratio increased 31% to 2.5, the reefer ratio was up 13% to 4.6, and the flatbed ratio climbed 30% to 18.4.
Reefer Demand Up 16%
There’s often a slump in reefer freight availability right after Memorial Day. Things were still trending upward, however, particularly in the Midwest. By region, spot rates for notable reefer markets include:
- West: Fresno, Calif., $2.13/mile, up 6 cents
- Midwest: Green Bay, Wisc., $2.40/mile, up 4 cents
- South Central: McAllen, Texas, $1.89/mile, unchanged
- Southeast: Lakeland, Fla., $1.70/mile, down 17 cents
- Northeast: Philadelphia, $2.16/mile, up 3 cents
Reefer rates have fallen sharply in Florida. The steep drop in volumes in the central part of the state has affected pricing out of Miami: the average rate from Miami to Baltimore, a key lane, plunged 61 cents to $2.26/mile.
Flatbed L/T Ratio Up 30%
Flatbed load availability was off 14% while capacity fell 33%. That led to a 30% increase in the flatbed load-to-truck ratio, at 18.4 loads per truck.
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.
Load-to-truck ratios are a sensitive, real-time indicator of the balance between spot market demand and capacity. Changes in the ratio often signal impending changes in rates.
For complete national and regional reports on spot rates and demand, visit dat.com/Trendlines. DAT Trendlines is a weekly report on spot market freight availability, truck capacity, and rates.