Refrigeratedtransporter 3397 Spot Market 09292018

Spot reefer freight rates gain stability, strength as available loads increase

Oct. 5, 2018
Learn more about national spot truckload freight trends continuing to stabilize and strengthen during the week ending September 29.

While the effects of Hurricane Florence could still be felt regionally, national spot truckload freight trends continued to stabilize and strengthen during the week ending September 29, 2018.

The number of available loads on the DAT network of load boards increased 2% the week ending September 29 while truck posts fell 2%. National average spot rates were steady:

•Reefer—$2.52/mile, down 1 cent

•Van—$2.15/mile, unchanged from the previous week

•Flatbed—$2.56/mile, also unchanged

For the week ending September 29, the reefer rate was 3 cents higher and the van rate 2 cents higher compared with August averages. The flatbed rate is 8 cents lower than in August.

Reefer volumes rebounded for the week, thanks mostly to load counts out of the Midwest and, to a lesser degree, California. Reefer load posts on DAT load boards rose 3% while truck posts declined 2%, which resulted in a 5% advance in the load-to-truck ratio to 8.4 loads per truck.

Average rates were up on 35 of the top 72 reefer lanes, with 32 lanes falling and four remaining neutral. Several significant lanes were higher, includuing Grand Rapids MI to Philadelphia ($4.15/mile, up 13 cents) and Atlanta to Lakeland FL ($3.43/mile, up 8 cents).

The number of van load posts on DAT load boards were up 4% and truck posts dropped 3%. That resulted in a 7% gain in the national van load-to-truck ratio to 7.3 loads per truck. While van rates are generally 20% more than year-ago averages, the biggest week-over-week decreases were on lanes that spiked prior to Hurricane Florence making landfall.

•Buffalo NY to Charlotte NC was down 24 cents at $2.44/mile

•Atlanta to Charlotte fell 17 cents to $2.84/mile

•Allentown PA to Richmond VA was down 20 cents at $2.88/mile

Those lane rates are still higher than they were before the storm.

The national load-to-truck ratio for spot flatbed freight was unchanged at 25.9. Flatbed load posts and truck posts were both down 1% versus the previous week. That could change as rebuilding efforts continue in the Carolinas.

For on-highway diesel fuel, the national average price jumped 4 cents to $3.31 per gallon. Spot rates include a portion for a fuel surcharge, meaning a change in fuel prices can affect overall rates.

DAT Trendlines 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 database consists of more than $45 billion in freight bills in 65,000-plus lanes. DAT load boards average 993,000 load posts per business day.

For the latest spot market load availability and rate information, visit

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