The availability of spot truckload freight increased 2.9% while available capacity fell 4.3% during the week ending Sept. 2, the first full week after Hurricane Harvey made landfall, said DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards. National average rates rose compared to the previous week:
- Van: $1.90/mile, up 12 cents
- Flatbed: $2.20/mile, up 2 cents
- Reefer: $2.10/mile, up 3 cents
These rates include a fuel surcharge but not accessorial fees that compensate the carrier for loading, unloading, layovers, and detention, all of which have likely risen significantly for trucks carrying relief supplies. The rearrangement of supply chains, the difficulty of shipping in the flooded region, and a tightening spot market pushed rates higher on 78 of the top 100 van lanes in the country.
Nationally, van load posts increased 4% and truck posts declined 5% compared to the previous week, to yield a 9% increase in the load-to-truck ratio, from 5.2 to 5.6 loads per truck. Reefer load posts increased 11% and truck posts declined 4%, which resulted in a 16% increase in the load-to-truck ratio, to 11.6 loads per truck. Flatbed load posts fell 4% while truck posts dipped 4%. That caused the load-to-truck ratio to increase one-half percent, to 26.7 loads per truck.
Effects of Hurricane Harvey on spot truckload freight:
• The number of available outbound loads from Houston plunged 72% compared to the previous week, when the storm came ashore late on Friday, Aug. 25.
• Despite the loss of volume, the average outbound spot van rate from Houston increased 20% to $2.03/mile.
• Houston-outbound lanes with significant rate changes during the week ending Sept. 2 (average spot rate):
- Houston to Dallas: $2.57/mile, up 46 cents. Volume was down 65%.
- Houston to Laredo: $1.76/mile, up 26 cents.
- Houston to Oklahoma City: $2.19/mile, up 24 cents.
• Houston-inbound lanes with significant rate changes during the same period:
- Dallas to Houston: $4.00/mile, up $1.60. DAT has never reported anything close to $4/mile on this lane before.
- Denver to Houston, $1.63/mile, up 59 cents. This is the largest ever weekly jump on a Denver lane.
• The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other organizations are gathering emergency supplies in warehouses and distribution centers on the outskirts of San Antonio, Dallas, Austin, Lafayette, La., and other metro areas, until trucks can enter the storm zone. Many of these emergency relief loads are being handled by freight brokers and 3PLs who are making the loads available on DAT load boards. Rates increased significantly on many lanes heading to those destinations.
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.