DAT SOLUTIONS: Spot freight forecast includes a warming trend

Special to Land Line | 2/6/2019

It happens pretty much every January: truckload rates fall, and some people overreact.

Indeed, spot rates stepped down week over week in January but shipper demand was strong all month. The number of load posts on DAT MembersEdge was up 9 percent last week and truck posts fell 6 percent – likely a product of winter weather.

Van trends

Van load posts increased 13 percent while truck posts dropped 6 percent last week. The van load-to-truck ratio increased from 4.0 to 4.8 loads per truck while national average van rate fell 4 cents to $1.94 per mile.

Pump up the volume
Van volumes were steady in January compared to December, and load counts out of Atlanta and Los Angeles jumped up 6 percent last week.

Better rates on the way?
Changes in volume often precede adjustments to spot rates. Truckers may not feel it right away, but more loads on the spot market is a sign that stable prices are on the way.

Winter wonderland
Chicago outbound rates rose 12 cents to an average of $2.37 per mile last week – with no increase in volume. The arctic weather made trucks harder to find but these are huge jumps for January. Check out these lanes:

  • Chicago to Detroit gained 37 cents to an average of $3.35 per mile.
  • Chicago to Minneapolis increased 20 cents to $2.42 per mile.

Flatbed trends

The number of flatbed load posts was up 3 percent last week while truck posts were down 3 percent. The national flatbed load-to-truck ratio increased to 22.6 loads per truck and the national average rate dipped 2 cents to $2.35 per mile.

Warming trends
The flatbed market seems ready to rebound with construction season kicking into gear and oil markets gaining strength. There were large increases in flatbed volumes all along the Sun Belt: Phoenix, Savannah, Birmingham, and Houston.

Reefer trends

Reefer load posts increased 10 percent while truck posts fell 6 percent, which caused the load-to-truck ratio to move up from 5.6 to 6.6 loads per truck. The national average reefer rate, however, slipped 5 cents to $2.29 per mile.

Tri-haul of the week

Los Angeles-Seattle-Twin Falls-Los Angeles

When van rates from L.A. to Seattle are trending down, as they have been lately, rates in the opposite direction go up. Still, the L.A.-Seattle roundtrip rate averaged only $1.37 per mile last week.

You can improve on that by turning the roundtrip into a tri-haul.

Load from Seattle to Southern Idaho paid an average of $2.03 per mile last week. That’s the Twin Falls market, one of the country’s hotter freight hubs, and van loads from there to Los Angeles averaged $1.85 per mile last week. The extra leg would add about 400 miles, not counting deadhead, but negotiating the average rates could boost your revenue by $1,396.

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.




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