Average spot market freight rates, capacity both on the rise

By Land Line staff | 3/18/2015

Freight availability on the spot truckload market rose 4.2 percent and capacity increased by 7.6 percent during the week ending March 14, according to DAT Solutions, the company operating the DAT network of load boards.

While freight availability and capacity usually move in opposite directions, DAT Solutions said strong Southern markets for flatbed rates were boosting the national average. The average outbound rate from Jacksonville rose 20 cents to $2.86 per mile; Tampa added 8 cents to $1.46 per mile; Houston edged up a penny to $2.25 a mile; and Ft. Worth rose 5 cents to $1.99 per mile. The Houston-Bismarck lane jumped to $2.59 a mile, a 40-cent increase. The flatbed rate gained 3 cents to $2.15 per mile on average, nationwide.

Nationally, the average van and refrigerated rates were unchanged at $1.94 and $2.16 per mile, respectively. Van rates out of Los Angeles added another 4 cents last week, reaching $1.99 per mile.

Van freight availability on DAT load boards increased 2.5 percent while capacity jumped 7.4 percent compared to the previous week. The van load-to-truck ratio fell 4.6 percent from 3.7 loads per truck to 3.5, meaning there were 3.5 van loads posted for every available van trailer on DAT load boards last week.

Reefer freight availability fell 3 percent last week and capacity rose 11 percent, which sent the reefer load-to-truck ratio down 12 percent from 11 to 9.6. Flatbed load availability increased 12 percent while capacity added 5.3 percent; the flatbed load-to-truck ratio gained 6.3 percent from 13.9 to 14.8 loads-to-truck.

Load-to-truck ratios represent the number of loads posted for every truck available on DAT load boards. The load-to-truck ratio is a sensitive, real-time indicator of the balance between spot market demand and capacity. Changes in the ratio often signal impending changes in rates.