DAT SOLUTIONS: Christmas brings stable spot truckload rates

Special to Land Line | 12/27/2018

Load board activity on MembersEdge slowed during the week ahead of Christmas. The number of load posts was down 5 percent compared to the previous week. Truck posts were down 6 percent.

Spot rates and demand remain stable and roughly in line with the same period last year. National average van and flatbed load-to-truck ratios declined while the reefer ratio increased, reflecting demand to move groceries ahead of the holiday.

The price of fuel was down again in the lead-up to Christmas, falling 4 cents to $3.08 per gallon. Spot rates include a calculated fuel surcharge. For a little perspective, fuel averaged $2.91 per gallon in December 2017.

Van trends

The number of van load posts fell 7 percent compared to the previous week while truck posts declined 6 percent. The national average van load-to-truck ratio edged down from 5.2 to 5.1, while the average spot van rate was a penny lower at $2.07 per mile.

Overall, the van market reflected stability last week—among the top 100 van lanes, even the number of losers and gainers was balanced. Freight schedules showed no obvious signs of stress from e-commerce demands this year.

Up in Texas, van edition
Houston volumes spiked two weeks ago and pricing caught up, with the average outbound rate rising 5 cents to $1.84 per mile. The average outbound rate from Dallas increased 2 cents to $1.76 per mile, led in part by the Dallas-Houston lane, up 9 cents to an average of $2.48 per mile.

Buffalo jumps
The average outbound rate from Buffalo gained 8 cents to $2.63 per mile. Several lanes in and out of the market rebounded, including Buffalo to Allentown, Pa., up 27 cents to $3.49 per mile.

Trending down
Prices were weaker out of Seattle, Philadelphia and Denver – markets known for low rates. Indeed, Denver-outbound dropped 4 cents to an average of $1.36 per mile last week.

Reefer trends

The number of reefer load posts during the week of Christmas was up 6 percent while truck posts dropped 6 percent, which pushed the load-to-truck ratio up 12 percent to 7.1. The national average reefer rate was unchanged at $2.42 per mile, with rates stronger on many high-volume lanes.

Up in Texas, reefer edition
In McAllen, Texas, winter harvests helped boost the average outbound rate 15 cents to $2.38 per mile. McAllen to Elizabeth, N.J., surged 51 cents to $2.75 per mile and McAllen to Atlanta jumped 25 cents to $2.51 per mile.

Dallas-Houston was the region’s high lane for reefer freight, gaining 8 cents to $2.91 per 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.

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.



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