National average spot truckload rates declined as the number of available trucks jumped 52% during the week ending January 13, 2018, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards. Spot refrigerated, van and flatbed freight rates remain higher than at any point in 2017, however.
The number of available loads posted was up 17%, a sign that freight patterns have normalized after two weeks of holidays, disruptive weather, and more rigid schedules imposed by the use of electronic logging devices.
Load-to-truck ratios for all three equipment types edged down from record highs:
•Reefer ratio—18.4, down from 25.2
•Van load-to-truck ratio—10.7, down from 14.7 the previous week
•Flatbed ratio—53.7, down from 63.5
Demand for refrigerated trailers remains solid, with load posts up 6%. Truck posts were up 46% compared with the previous week, which helped send the national average reefer rate down a penny to $2.70 per mile. Volumes are down seasonally, a sign that reefer rates may have crested moving deeper into a post-holiday period.
The number of van load posts increased 12% and truck posts surged 54%. The national average spot van rate dipped 2 cents to $2.28/mile—still a high rate. Outbound rates from many major markets held firm:
—Atlanta, $2.44/mile, down 2 cents
—Houston, $1.99/mile, down 1 cent
—Philadelphia, $2.29/mile, up 1 cent
—Chicago, $3.00/mile, up 1 cent
Notable exceptions: Buffalo NY, up 21 cents to $2.98/mile, building on a 5-cent increase the previous week; Los Angeles, $2.71/mile, down 16 cents; and Charlotte NC, $2.64/mile, up 10 cents.
The national average flatbed rate slipped 1 cent to $2.42/mile to start the year. Flatbed load posts rose 35% after a 46% gain the previous week, and truck posts shot up 60%.
The national average price of on-highway diesel fuel was unchanged at $3.00/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 information, visit www.dat.com/industry-trends/trendlines.