DAT SOLUTIONS: Capacity tightens ahead of Labor Day holiday

Special to Land Line | 8/29/2018

Rates fell for all equipment types on DAT MembersEdge even though load-to-truck ratios were up last week. There were 4 percent more load posts to choose from and 5 percent fewer truck posts.

We’re in a bit of a transition period now as summer winds down. Let's look at the Trendlines.

Rates were lower
The national average van, flatbed and reefer rates fell 1 cent. Van rates were $2.15 per mile, flatbed rates were $2.66 per mile, and reefer rates were $2.49 per mile.

Diesel up
The national average price of on-highway diesel rose 2 cents to $3.21 per gallon but is 29 percent higher year over year. Spot rates include a portion for a fuel surcharge, meaning a change in fuel price can affect overall prices to move freight. 

Van ratio rises
The number of van load posts on DAT load boards edged up 2 percent while truck posts dropped 6 percent. That pushed the national van-load-to-truck ratio up to 7.1 loads per truck.

Recovery mode
While national van rates have been slipping throughout August, the Top 100 van lanes are showing signs of recovery with 45 top lanes up in pricing, 46 lanes down, and 9 neutral. The most interesting lane among the top gainers: Chicago to Allentown, Pennsylvania, gained 15 cents to $3.04 per mile. One year ago that lane was in the $2.25 to $2.75 range. It's a good example of the new-normal rate-level reset.

Houston slipping
Van markets in Texas and the Southeast region are slipping, and nowhere has the trend been more evident than in Houston ($1.95 per mile, down 6 cents). A slowdown in energy infrastructure may be part of the story. Also, it’s been a year since Hurricane Harvey hit the region and much of the recovery and rebuilding is complete.

Food for thought
Reefer load posts jumped up 10 percent. Truck posts fell by 5 percent, which pushed the load-to-truck ratio up to 9.6 loads per truck. The run-up to Labor Day weekend and the new school year typically leads to a surge in demand for transportation of fresh food. This year, the back-to-school grocery fest coincides with late-summer harvests. Apples, pears, onions and potatoes are rolling out of orchards and fields in the Upper Midwest, Pacific Northwest and parts of the Northeast, just as school cafeterias and busy parents are re-stocking fridges all over the country.

Flatbed trend
After 10 weeks of declines, the national flatbed load-to-truck ratio edged up 3 percent last week to 28.2 loads per truck. Load posts were up 1 percent while truck posts dipped 2 percent. More lanes rose than fell last week in the top 78 flatbed lanes on DAT load boards, and overall rates continued to slip but at a slower rate. All four of the top-gaining flatbed lanes were from Roanoke, Va.

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 the MyMembersEdge.com load board or tune in to Land Line Now. You can get all of the latest rate information at dat.com per industry-trends per 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.



Copyright © OOIDA