Spot rates soar as load volume increases

June 15, 2018
Spot truckload rates jumped sharply during the week ending June 9 as the number of loads on DAT load boards increased 27%.

Spot truckload rates jumped sharply during the week ending June 9 as the number of loads on DAT load boards increased 27% while truck posts fell 0.4%. Higher demand for capacity during a week that included the annual Roadcheck inspection blitz helped drive up rates in all three equipment types:

  • Van: $2.29/mile, up 10 cents
  • Flatbed: $2.81/mile, up 6 cents
  • Reefer: $2.69/mile, up 19 cents

While spot truckload rates typically increase in June, the van rate gained 16 cents last week and the reefer rate was up 15 cents compared to May averages. National average van and reefer load-to-truck ratios were the highest they’ve been since rates spiked in January, following the ELD mandate.

VAN OVERVIEW: Van load posts on the DAT network increased 35% last week (a 20% change is more typical after a holiday-shortened week). Truck posts rose just 2%, which pushed the load-to-truck ratio up 32% to 11.3 loads per truck. Hot van markets:

  • Houston: $2.38/mile, up 17 cents. Outbound volume increased 7.6% compared to the previous week and is 11.2% higher over the last four weeks.
  • Columbus, Ohio: $2.76/mile, up 17 cents. Outbound volume increased 6.4% and is up 11.1% over the last four weeks.
  • Los Angeles: $2.89/mile, up 10 cents. Outbound volume increased 3.7% and is up 18.2% over the last four weeks.

Two key lanes showed unusually strong rates:

  • Memphis to Indianapolis, up 25 cents to $3.08/mile
  • Columbus to Chicago, up 22 cents to $2.62/mile

FLATBED OVERVIEW: At 109, the flatbed load-to-truck ratio pushed past 100 after a three-week stretch below it. Flatbed load posts increased 18% and truck posts were up 7%, leading to a 10% increase in the flatbed load-to-truck ratio.

REEFER OVERVIEW: Reefer load posts increased 42% during the first full week after Memorial Day but truck posts fell 9%. As a result, the national reefer load-to-truck ratio jumped 57% to 14.7 loads per truck.

Dallas activity was particularly strong. The average outbound rate from Dallas soared 44 cents to $3.03/mile and several lanes reflected extraordinary increases:

  • Dallas to Atlanta: $2.95/mile, up 55 cents
  • Dallas to Denver: $3.64/mile, up 55 cents

California reefer pricing continues to improve, with rates up 25% during the past month out of Sacramento. In Florida, the origin of loads has shifted to the middle and upper parts of the state. As a result, Miami averaged $2.36/mile, down 11 cents, and the Miami to Atlanta lane is falling into off-season pricing: the average rate fell 26 cents last week to $1.72/mile.

This report is generated using DAT RateView, which provides real-time reports on prevailing spot market and contract rates, as well as historical rate and capacity trends. RateView's comprehensive database is comprised of more than $45 billion in freight bills in over 65,000 lanes.

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