DAT SOLUTIONS: No spring break for spot van, reefer rates

Special to Land Line | 4/17/2019

National average spot van and reefer rates slipped again as the number of load posts on DAT MembersEdge fell 4% and truck posts increased 3% last week. The arrival of produce season in several southern markets didn’t make up for the effects of more capacity on the boards and bad weather across much of the country.

National average spot rates

  • Van: $1.83 per mile, 2 cents lower than the March average.
  • Reefer: $2.15 per mile, 2 cents lower than March.
  • Flatbed: $2.37 per mile, 3 cents higher than March.

Load-to-truck ratios were down for vans and flatbeds but higher for reefers compared to the previous week. Diesel increased 3 cents to $3.12 per gallon as a national average.

Van trends

How soft are spot van rates? Pricing was lower on 76 of the top 100 van lanes last week. Only 23 lanes saw rates rise and one lane was neutral.

Van load-to-truck ratios have not held up after a promising start to April, with the national average ratio sitting at 1.25. The good news is that van load counts rose nearly 5% in Chicago and Houston, and more than 3% in Los Angeles.

Where rates are rising

Buffalo averaged $2.14 per mile last week, up 1 cent, on lower volumes. Buffalo to Charlotte gained 10 cents to $2.13 per mile. It’s odd to see a northeast-to-southeast lane climb during April.

Where rates are falling

Outbound rates were down from Los Angeles; Columbus, Ohio; Philadelphia; and Charlotte, N.C. Charlotte to Allentown, Pa., gave up 13 cents to $2.08 per mile, and rates fell on two Buffalo-inbound lanes: Columbus to Buffalo, down 19 cents to $2.66 per mile, and Chicago to Buffalo, off 19 cents to $2.31 per mile.

Reefer trends

Prices rose on 38 of the top 72 reefer lanes last week. Thirty-one lanes were lower and three were neutral. Higher volume in Florida and California were wiped out by losses in volumes from the Upper Midwest and Texas, which hurt pricing overall.

Where rates are rising

Lakeland, Fla., volumes spiked nearly 27% last week while the average outbound rate climbed 2 cents to $1.57 per mile. Let’s see if Lakeland rates trace a pattern in Miami, where a big jump in volume two weeks ago was followed by a nice gain in the average outbound rate ($1.80 per mile, up 13 cents). Several lanes from Florida and California produced strong rates:

  • Fresno to Denver up 40 cents to $2.24 per mile.
  • Fresno to Boston gained 19 cents to $2.23 per mile.
  • Miami to Baltimore up 29 cents to $2.00 per mile.
  • Miami to Elizabeth, N.J., rose 15 cents to $1.82 per mile.

Where rates are falling

Ontario, Calif., is underperforming, and last week both volumes and rates fell. The average outbound rate was $2.51 per mile, down 8 cents, on 9% lower volume.

Tri-haul of the week

Last week there were more than 1,200 load posts for Twin Falls, Idaho, and just 71 truck posts. If you want in, try a tri-haul.

This week San Francisco to Twin Falls is paying an average of $2.64 per mile for a reefer but just $2.33 per mile on the return.

If you use the tri-haul function in DAT MembersEdge, it lists Reno, Nevada, as an option. Twin Falls to Reno averages $3.13 per mile, and Reno to San Francisco is $3.48 per mile. Reno doesn’t add miles, just an extra stop. But it would increase your rate per loaded mile by 45 cents and put an extra $614 in your pocket.

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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