DAT Solutions: Signs that spot rates will rise

Special to Land Line | 5/25/2016

Spot truckload freight volume and available capacity both fell during the week ending May 21, reported DAT Solutions, which operates the MembersEdge load board.

However, load-to-truck ratios increased and diesel prices are up sharply – an indication that spot truckload rates may pick up soon.

Let’s take a look at the latest trends:

Loads, capacity down: The number of spot market load posts fell another 4 percent due to a 6 percent drop in flatbed load volume. The number of posted van loads was steady while reefer load posts were up 2 percent.

Tighter capacity helps L/T ratios: Fewer truck posts compared to the previous week helped boost load-to-truck ratios. The van ratio gained 1 percent, to 1.7 loads per truck; the reefer ratio increased 18 percent to 3.3; and the flatbed ratio was up 5 percent to 15.4. Load-to-truck ratios measure the number of loads posted for each available truck on the DAT network.

Fuel surcharges up: Diesel priceswere up sharply last week with the national average retail price gaining 6 cents to $2.36/gallon. Expect an increase in the average fuel surcharge this week—and a corresponding rise in spot rates.

National average spot TL rates:

  • Van: Down 1 cent to $1.53/mile
  • Reefer: Down a penny to $1.87/mile
  • Flatbed: Unchanged at $1.91/mile for the third week in a row

Reefer trends: Rates rose on more than half of the highest-volume lanes. The high-dollar market in each region:

  • West: Los Angeles, $2.41/mile, unchanged
  • Midwest: Grand Rapids, Mich., $2.39/mile, up 2 cents
  • South Central: McAllen, Texas, $1.88/mile, down 1 cent
  • Southeast: Miami, $2.06/mile, unchanged
  • Northeast: Philadelphia, $2.16/mile, down 9 cents

Atlanta and Lakeland, Fla., are still No. 1 and 2 for reefer load posts on DAT MembersEdge, though volumes slipped a bit in Central Florida.

Van trends: Volume was up in Houston, the country’s No. 2 market for van load posts on DAT MembersEdge, after Atlanta. Chicago’s average outbound rate was down 2 cents to $1.71/mile, and rail competition is killing the lane from Chicago to L.A.: the average spot van rate lost another 14 cents to just $1.05/mile.

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.

Get the latest rate trends at DAT.com/Trendlines or join the conversation on Twitter with @LoadBoards. Look for more information about load availability and rates at OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com, and listen in each Wednesday to Land Line Now for more talk about where to find profitable freight.

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