DAT Solutions: A Southeastern shift

Special to Land Line | 4/27/2016

The national average reefer rate was unchanged during the week ending April 26 despite some promising signs that demand would increase soon.

Nationally, the number of reefer load posts increased just 1 percent and average spot truckload rates have yet to make a seasonal jump, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the OOIDA MembersEdge load board.

Let’s take a closer look at the good, the bad, and a tip of the week in the spot market:

The good
So far this spring, imported produce from Mexico has dominated reefer demand, with solid opportunities for hauls from along the southern border. Now the focus is shifting to the Southeast. Reefer volume is up in Florida, Georgia peaches have started to ship, and produce is ripening elsewhere along the coast.

The top three markets for reefer load posts on DAT MembersEdge are Miami, Atlanta, and Lakeland, Fla., with several sharp increases on key lanes: Miami to Elizabeth, N.J., surged 31 cents and paid an average of $1.76 a mile, Miami to Boston rose 30 cents to $1.97 a mile, and Lakeland to Baltimore was up 25 cents to $1.81 a mile.

Nationally, the reefer load-to-truck ratio was unchanged, holding at 2.6 loads per truck. The national average reefer rate held steady at $1.78 per mile. 

The bad
The van market is still trying to find some traction. The van load-to-truck ratio was unchanged compared to the previous week, rounding to 1.4 loads per truck on 4 percent lower volume. The national average van rate was also unchanged at $1.50 a mile. 

Regionally, van rates weakened or remained the same in several key markets including Atlanta (unchanged at $1.64), Charlotte (down 2 cents to $1.74), Los Angeles ($1.83, unchanged), and Chicago (down 1 cent to $1.75). 

The rising price of fuel has done little to move the needle on spot rates. The national average diesel price rose 4 cents to $2.20 a gallon, building on a 3-cent gain the previous week.

The takeaway
If you haul reefer freight, you’ll have no trouble finding a load out of Miami, where the load-to-truck ratio is roughly 7. But the average rate from Miami to Atlanta is still low at $1.41. You’ll want to negotiate hard on the southbound leg, from Atlanta to Miami, which averaged $2.06 last week.

Another option is to build a tri-haul out of Miami. Tune in every Wednesday at 6 Central Time to Sirius XM’s Road Dog Channel and OOIDA’s Land Line Now, where Terry Scruton talks with DAT. This week, he talked with Peggy Dorf about opportunities on the MembersEdge load board to increase revenue by adding a third leg to your route. Look for more information about load availability and rates at OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com.

(Editor’s note: The analysis above is provided to Land Line as a reader service from DAT Solutions. Rates and trends reported are reflected in the DAT Solutions network)

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