DAT SOLUTIONS: Load-to-truck ratios firm up ahead of November

Special to Land Line | 10/31/2018

Slight increases in the number of available loads and trucks last week helped slow the downward roll of spot truckload rates, a sign that spot freight may be firming up ahead of the holidays. 

Steady national van and reefer load-to-truck ratios on MembersEdge tell the tale.
Van: 4.7 loads per truck, unchanged from the previous week.
Reefer: 6.1 loads per truck, up slightly compared to the previous week.

Let’s look at the Trendlines.

Diesel decline
After two months of increases, the national average price of on-highway diesel fell for the second straight week, down 2.5 cents to $3.35 per gallon.

Vans hold
The national average van rate dropped 1 cent to $2.10 per mile. That’s the low for the year, but the fact that the number of van load and truck posts were nearly unchanged compared to the previous week should bode well for rates in the future.

West Coasting
Demand for vans remains strong on the West Coast as van load-to-truck ratios improved in California, Oregon, Idaho and Utah. This trend repeats every year as consumer goods from Asia arrive at the ports and move east.

Shipping news
Expect capacity pressure in California to continue in the coming weeks as ships arrive at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which handle 49 percent of Asian imports. Last Friday, outbound loads outnumbered available trucks in Los Angeles by more than 10-to-1, lifting rates on lanes to Chicago, Dallas, Phoenix and Denver.

More reefer freight
The number of reefer load posts increased 2 percent last week while truck posts rose less than 1 percent. The national average reefer rate was unchanged at $2.44 per mile.

Down Mexico way
Outbound traffic and rates were up at gateways for imports from Mexico, including McAllen, Texas ($2.14 per mile, up 5 cents).

Florida falls
Florida reefer markets are still recovering after Hurricane Michael, and several key lanes paid less last week. Lakeland to Charlotte lost 19 cents at $1.25 per mile, and Miami to Baltimore tumbled 31 cents to $1.51 per mile.

Flatbeds slump
The flatbed load-to-truck ratio slipped to 17.2 last week, declining seasonally and well below the 25.5 monthly average for September. The national average spot flatbed rate was $2.47 per mile, down 2 cents.

Tri-haul of the week: Columbus-Buffalo-Pittsburgh-Columbus
Van rates between Columbus, Ohio, and Buffalo, N.Y., may be down but tri-haul options on MembersEdge can deliver better revenue. 

For example, Buffalo to Pittsburgh averaged $3.74 per mile last week and Pittsburgh to Columbus averaged $3.09 per mile. At those rates, the extra leg would add just 74 miles, not counting deadhead, but boost your rate per loaded mile by 72 cents. If it works with your schedule, adding a third leg could increase your revenue by $727.

DAT tri-haul of the week chart
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