Refrigeratedtransporter 3088 Spot Market 01202018

Demand for spot truckload capacity slows; rates drop gradually

Jan. 29, 2018
See why demand for spot truckload capacity slowed for the week ending January 20, according to DAT Solutions.

National average spot van and flatbed rates fell slightly and the refrigerated rate was unchanged during the week ending January 20, 2018 despite 3.5% fewer loads and a 4.6% increase in trucks posted, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

The gradual decline in rates is in contrast to the sudden increases following the December 18, 2017, electronic logging device (ELD) deadline. Reefer and van load-to-truck ratios edged down for a second straight week after hitting multi-year peaks in early January:

•Reefer ratio—15.5, down from 18.4

•Van load-to-truck ratio—9.8, down from 10.7 the previous week

•Flatbed ratio—53.9, up from 53.7

The national average reefer rate was unchanged at $2.70/mile as load posts fell 10% and truck posts rose 7%. Capacity was in demand in Northeast hubs including Philadelphia ($3.46/mile, up 16 cents) and Elizabeth NJ ($2.35/mile, up 10 cents), where traffic has been affected by winter weather. Reefer load counts and rates fell off sharply from Nogales AZ as domestic produce begins to displace imports from the US-Mexico border.

Van load posts dropped 5% and truck posts climbed 4% as the national average spot van rate decreased 1 cent to $2.27/mile. Rates were down on most of the top 100 van lanes but stayed elevated in key markets:

—Dallas, $2.05/mile, up 2 cents

—Philadelphia, $2.43/mile, up 11 cents

—Chicago, $3.05/mile, up 5 cents

—Memphis, $2.61/mile, up 6 cents

Los Angeles dropped 14 cents to $2.53/mile after losing 16 cents the previous week.

Flatbed load posts advanced 3%, truck posts were up 2.5%, and the national average flatbed rate dipped 2 cents to $2.40/mile. Key regional markets are showing strength:

—Las Vegas, $2.89/mile, up 7 cents

—Phoenix, $2.24/mile, up 6 cents

—Savannah GA, $2.78/mile, up 5 cents

—Houston, $2.65/mile, up 8 cents

—Harrisburg PA, $3.76/mile, up 18 cents

—Los Angeles, $2.53/mile, down 14 cents

Flatbed rates were softer in the Midwest the week ending January 20, including outbound from Rock Island IL ($3.03/mile, down 16 cents) and Cleveland OH ($2.64/mile, down 10 cents).

The national average price of on-highway diesel fuel remained near a three-year high at $3.03/gallon. Spot truckload freight rates include a fuel surcharge portion.

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

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