DAT Solutions: Ringing in 2017 on a high note

Special to Land Line | Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Freight volume and rates on the spot truckload market have been on the upswing since May 2016 and surged in November and December instead of tapering off. Nothing changed during the first week of 2017.

Strong freight volumes on the MembersEdge load board sent national average spot reefer and van rates higher:

  • Reefers: $2.03/mile, up 5 cents to an unseasonable high 
  • Vans: $1.77/mile, up 4 cents

It’s vans, man: Opportunities to haul van freight continue to surge. Van load posts were up 20 percent compared to the previous week and truck posts increased 9 percent. The van load-to-truck ratio was 4.9 van loads per truck, up 10 percent.

Ups and downs: The van rate increased as a national average but rates fell sharply in many key markets, especially in the Midwest and West:

  • Los Angeles, $2.08/mile, down 8 cents
  • Chicago, $2.12/mile, down 11 cents
  • Dallas, $1.56/mile, down 6 cents
  • Atlanta, $1.96/mile, down 3 cents
  • Philadelphia, $1.75/mile, down 3 cent

Higher flatbed volume: Flatbed load posts increased 26 percent while truck posts increased 18 percent last week. That pushed the load-to-truck ratio up to 28.6, the highest weekly flatbed ratio since September 2014. The average flatbed rate fell 3 cents to $1.92/mile.

Fuel increases again: Spot TL rates include a fuel surcharge. The national average price of on-highway diesel gained a penny to $2.60/gallon.

Reefer volumes cool: Demand for reefer trucks slipped compared to the boom week between Christmas and New Year’s but remained unseasonably high at 10.7 reefer loads per truck. Spot reefer load posts increased 3 percent but truck posts rose 7 percent.

Frosty rates: Average reefer rates on several lanes declined last week:

  • Chicago-Denver, $2.11/mile, down 86 cents
  • Dallas-Phoenix, $1.30/mile, down 42 cents
  • Miami-Baltimore fell to pre-Christmas levels at $1.72/mile
  • Elizabeth, N.J.-Boston came back down 38 cents to $3.50/mile: still high but traffic and weather make travel difficult on that lane, plus there’s not much freight coming out of Boston.

Produce imports drive traffic: Volume kept climbing in Nogales, Ariz., with Mexican produce crossing the border, and load counts also started the year strong in Philadelphia, a big market for produce imports from Europe.

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.

For the latest spot market load availability and rate information, listen to Land Line Now, visit MyMembersEdge.com, and join the conversation on Twitter with @LoadBoards.

Here’s to a safe, prosperous, and profitable 2017.

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