DAT SOLUTIONS: Spot rates poised to set records in June

Special to Land Line | Thursday, June 21, 2018

Spot truckload rates on DAT MembersEdge rose again during the week ending June 16 and are on track to hit the highest-ever monthly averages for van, refrigerated ("reefer"), and flatbed freight.

Despite a 6 percent drop in posted loads and 5.4 percent jump in available trucks (capacity typically increases during the week after Roadcheck), national average rates were up for all three equipment types. 

The flatbed rate set a new record while van and reefer rates were just shy of their all-time highs:

  • Van: $2.30/mile, up 1 cent
  • Flatbed: $2.82/mile, up 1 cent
  • Reefer: $2.70/mile, up 1 cent

Van overview: Van load posts fell 5 percent while truck posts increased 4 percent compared to the previous week. The van load-to-truck ratio declined 8 percent to 10.3 loads per truck.

The number of available loads increased by double-digit percentage points in key markets including Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago, and Atlanta. Looking at spot rates, most of the top-gaining van lanes were in the West, including:

  • Stockton, Calif., to Seattle, up 31 cents to $3.80/mile
  • Stockton to Salt Lake City, up 30 cents to $2.87/mile
  • Los Angeles to Seattle, up 23 cents to $3.75/mile 

Houston to Dallas retreated 14 cents to $2.83/mile last week.

Flatbed overview: Flatbed load posts slipped 7 percent and truck posts increased 7 percent last week, which pushed the flatbed load-to-truck ratio down to 88.7. It was 109 the previous week.

Reefer overview: Reefer load posts fell 9 percent, truck posts increased 6 percent, and the reefer load-to-truck ratio dipped from 14.7 to 12.6 loads per truck.

Last week’s increase in capacity had a bigger impact on reefer markets than on dry vans. While the national average reefer rate ticked upward, many high-traffic lanes had lower prices. Among them:

  • Dallas to Houston fell 3 cents to $3.57/mile
  • Elizabeth, N.J. to Boston was down 11 cents to $4.52/mile
  • Chicago to Kansas City declined 16 cents to $2.56/mile

Tri-haul of the week: Stockton-Seattle-Eugene-Stockton
You can make a nice chunk of money right now hauling loads from California to Seattle. But one reason that rates are high is because it’s often hard to find a load coming out of Seattle that pays well. So if you’re looking to take a load up to Seattle, a tri-haul is an alternative way to get out.

Say you have a load from Stockton to Seattle. The return trip from Seattle to Stockton averaged just $1.33/mile last week. You could take advantage of the higher prices on the lane from Seattle to Eugene, Ore., which paid an average of $2.92/mile. A load back to Stockton paid an average rate of $2.20 last week.

This isn't a tri-haul as much as it is an extra stop on I-5, so deadhead miles are minimal. Last week it could have pushed your average from $2.58/mile for the normal Stockton-Seattle there-and-back to $3.14/mile with the extra stop— about $900 total.

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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