DAT SOLUTIONS: Rates slip despite solid footing for loads

Special to Land Line | 1/31/2019

Conditions may be hazardous on the roads, but there is still freight to move. The number of loads on DAT MembersEdge fell just 2 percent last week compared to an 8 percent drop in the number of trucks.

Rates, however, continue to lose traction. Van, reefer, and flatbed rates all slipped for the third straight week, and the van rate skidded below $2 for the first time since September 2017.

  • Van: $1.97 per mile, down 4 cents.
  • Flatbed: $2.37 per mile, down 1 cent.
  • Reefer: $2.34 per mile, down 3 cents.

Van trends

If you need a sign that freight volumes are steady, the van load-to-truck ratio increased to 4 loads per truck last week, up from a 20-month low of 3.7 the previous week.

But van rates are in decline. In the top 100 lanes, 68 lanes moved lower, 26 were higher, and six stayed the same last week.

Weak in the West

The swell of holiday imports is long gone. In Los Angeles, the average outbound van rate fell 13 cents to $2.12 per mile. That’s down 19 percent over the past four weeks. The average rate from Los Angeles to Chicago fell 19 cents last week to just $1.30 per mile.

Reefer trends

Reefer load posts increased 4 percent while truck posts fell 8 percent, which caused the national reefer load-to-truck ratio to move up from 4.9 to 5.6 loads per truck. Colder temperatures led to an increase in reefer demand in northern markets.

Down all around

Last week on the top 72 reefer lanes, prices were lower in 51 lanes. Just 19 lanes saw outbound rates rise, while two lanes stayed the same.

Grand bargains

The Grand Rapids, Mich., market saw reefer volumes soar 58 percent last week, no doubt to protect freight from the extreme cold. But the average outbound rate from Grand Rapids fell to $3.30 per mile, a 7-cent drop.

Tri-haul of the week

Memphis-Dallas-Oklahoma City-Memphis

Spot van rates from Memphis to Dallas averaged $2.51 per mile last week. Not bad, but the return trip was just $1.29.

Our tri-haul of the week adds a stop in Oklahoma City.

Dallas to Oklahoma City averaged $2.78 per mile last week, while OKC to Memphis averaged $1.51 per mile. That’s better than the price from Dallas, and while the extra drop and pickup would add almost 450 miles, not counting deadhead, you could pocket an extra $1,342 in revenue compared to the round trip.

DAY 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.



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