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Spot capacity picks up; Van and reefer rates cool

Feb. 22, 2018
National average spot van and refrigerated truckload rates fell during the week ending Feb. 17 but remain well ahead of last year’s levels.

National average spot van and refrigerated truckload rates fell during the week ending Feb. 17 but remain well ahead of last year’s levels, said DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

The van rate fell 2 cents to $2.15/mile and reefers dipped 5 cents to $2.45/mile compared to the previous week. It was the sixth week in a row that the van rate has declined, a normal trend for this time of year. The average is still higher than at any point in 2017.

Volumes are also higher than they were a month ago. The number of available loads increased 1.5% and while trucks increased 1.1%. Load-to-truck ratios shifted slightly:

  • Van: 7.2 available loads per truck, down 2%
  • Flatbed: 64.2 loads per truck, up 4%
  • Reefers: 9.6 loads per truck, down 6%

In the van market, load posts were unchanged and truck posts rose 2%. With a few exceptions, prices were stable out of the major markets for van freight:

  • Chicago, $2.68/mile, down 3 cents
  • Houston, $1.97/mile, unchanged
  • Dallas, $1.92/mile, up 1 cent
  • Memphis, $2.50/mile, up 1 cent
  • Atlanta, $2.32/mile, unchanged
  • Los Angeles, $2.17/mile, down 4 cents

Reefer load posts fell 5% and truck posts edged up 1%. Prices are still unusually high year over year although at $2.45/mile the average is 25 cents less than a month ago.

The average flatbed rate was $2.30/mile, rising for the third straight week. Load posts increased 1% and truck posts fell 3%. Altogether, flatbed volumes have held steady since an uptick at the end of January.

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.

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