The number of loads on the DAT network of load boards fell 13% during the week ending September 10, 2016, while the number of trucks dropped 15%.
Those are actually strong results considering the Labor Day holiday. You’d expect a 20% decline in all load board activity during a four-day, holiday-shortened workweek. Instead, demand and load-to-truck ratios were solid for all three equipment types:
•Reefer L/T ratio—6.0. Down 9% but a very strong number for this time of year.
•Van L/T ratio—3.2, essentially unchanged from the previous week when the ratio was the highest since early July.
•Flatbed L/T ratio—12.2. Up 21%, a big increase even though rates fell by a couple of cents.
The national average reefer rate added 2 cents to $1.93/mile, the van rate held at $1.66/mile, and the flatbed rate lost 3 cents, falling to $1.87/mile.
Reefer trends—Reefer volumes stayed ahead of expectations during the Labor Day week. Load posts fell 17% and truck posts declined 9%.
Demand for reefers was strongest up north; Chicago IL, Elizabeth NJ, and Grand Rapids MI were the top three markets for load posts. Other major reefer lanes remained solid the week ending September 10:
—Disappointing apple volumes had been hurting prices in Grand Rapids, but rates there improved. The average Grand Rapids-Madison WI rate rose 29 cents to an average of $2.75/mile.
—Chicago-Kansas City improved by 19 cents to $2.21/mile.
—Sacramento CA averaged $2.39/mile outbound, up 10 cents. Sacramento-Denver CO surged another 24 cents to $2.35/mile.
—Elizabeth-Boston MA was down 17 cents to $3.37/mile. That might sound high, but tolls and traffic can erode margins. Plus it’s hard to find a load out of Boston.
Van trends—Van load posts and truck posts both declined 17%, indicating relative strength for a four-day week.
Texas volumes improved and rates were up on most major outbound lanes from Dallas ($1.55/mile as an average, up 3 cents). Other top van markets by region:
—West—Los Angeles CA, $2.03/mile, down 2 cents
—Midwest—Chicago, $1.99/mile, down 2 cents
—Southeast—Charlotte NC, $1.92/mile, down 3 cents
—Northeast: Allentown PA, $2.01/mile, down 3 cents
Flatbed trends—Flatbed load posts edged down 3%, a strong showing for a holiday week. Truck posts fell 20% accordingly.
The national average price of diesel was $2.40/gallon, down 1 cent from the previous week.
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.
Get the latest rate trends at www.dat.com/trendlines.