Spot truckload volume increased 11% during the week ending April 2 as shippers moved freight out the door to close Q1 on a high note, reported DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards. Available capacity dropped 5.5% to drive load-to-truck ratios up across all three equipment types. Month-over-month, spot volume was 42% higher in March compared to February. March volume was 28% less compared to March 2015, however.In the van market, the number of posted loads increased 16% last week as the national average van rate added a penny to $1.57 per mile. Several key markets experienced higher average outbound rates compared to the previous week. Chicago outbound rose 3 cents to $1.77 per mile; Houston added 3 cents to $1.45; Los Angeles gained 1 cent to $1.82; and Buffalo jumped 4 cents to $1.93. Nationally, the van load-to-truck ratio was 1.9, a 23% gain. While the van rate increases aren’t dramatic, they are trending upward over the past month in popular lanes, especially in the Southeast and South Central regions, the DAT report notes. The number of reefer load posts increased 3% while truck posts fell 2% last week. As a result, the national average reefer load-to-truck ratio rose 5% to 3.2 and the reefer rate was unchanged at $1.82 per mile. Demand and rates are trending up slowly in the spot reefer market.
Flatbed load volume rebounded 12% and capacity decreased 10% last week, for a 23% hike in the load-to-truck ratio. The national average flatbed rate picked up 4 cents to $1.91 per 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. All reported rates include fuel surcharges. Load-to-truck ratios represent the number of loads posted for every truck available on DAT load boards. The load-to-truck ratio is a sensitive, real-time indicator of the balance between spot market demand and capacity, according to DAT. Changes in the ratio often signal impending changes in rates.DAT Trendlines is a weekly report on spot market freight availability, truck capacity, and rates.