DAT Solutions: Spot rates push higher

Special to Land Line | Thursday, November 09, 2017

Load counts on DAT MembersEdge jumped again, up 4.8 percent during the week ending Nov. 4 as volumes of retail freight and groceries pick up for the holidays.

The number of trucks posted slipped 3.2 percent, and the combination of tighter capacity and more freight kept spot rates well above seasonal norms:

  • Van: $2.07/mile, up 4 cents
  • Flatbed: $2.29/mile, down 5 cents
  • Reefer: $2.37/mile, up 5 cents

Let’s take a closer look at the numbers.

Pumped up fuel prices: The national average price of on-highway diesel ticked 6 cents upward to $2.88/gallon, the highest since June 2015. All reported spot rates include fuel surcharges.

Van posts up 7 percent: A 7 percent increase in posted van loads combined with a 4 percent decline in the number of trucks posted sent the van load-to-truck ratio up from 5.9 to 6.3 van loads per truck. The van ratio has declined since hitting a peak of 7 loads per truck during the final week in September but is more than double what it was last year at this time.

L.A. story: Tighter capacity pushed spot market van rates higher across much of the country, as average outbound prices rose on 58 of the top 100 van lanes. Los Angeles remained the No. 1 market for van load volume. The average outbound rate gained 11 cents to $2.49/mile last week.

Contract/spot gap narrows: The spread between the average spot line-haul rate for vans ($1.74/mile) and contract rates in October was nonexistent.

Hot reefer market: The number of spot reefer load posts increased 18 percent last week. The reefer load-to-truck ratio increased from 9.7 to 11.8 loads per truck as available capacity fell 3 percent.

Reefer rates rising: Of the top 72 reefer lanes, 39 had rising rates. Among the markets showing strength:

  • Green Bay, Wisc., $3.72/mile, up 12 cents
  • Chicago, $3.33/mile, up 14 cents
  • Elizabeth, N.J., $2.20/mile, up 6 cents
  • Los Angeles, $2.73/mile, unchanged

Flatbeds stay strong: Rebuilding efforts in Florida and the Gulf Coast have put tremendous pressure on flatbeds lately. Compared to September, flatbed load posts were up 5 percent in October while truck posts climbed 12 percent. That resulted in a 6 percent decline in the load-to-truck ratio compared to the previous month's spike. At 39.5 loads per truck, the ratio last month was 172 percent higher than in October 2016.

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, visit OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com load board or tune in to Land Line Now. You can get all of the latest rate information at dat.com/industry-trends/trendlines, comment on the DAT Freight Talk blog, or join us on Facebook. On Twitter you can tweet your questions to us @LoadBoards and have your questions answered by DAT industry analyst Mark Montague.



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