Spot freight rates already starting to weaken after week of improvement

By Tyson Fisher, Land Line staff writer | Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Two leading load boards show varying spot rates from last week, but indicate weakening prices compared to the previous week’s signs of improvement.

Analysis of rates provided by DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards, and Truckstop.com reveals some flatbed rates decreasing, but they differ on the direction of rates of reefers and vans.

Van rates remained unchanged at $1.74, according to Truckstop.com. DAT van rates dropped a penny to $1.75. Average spot rates for vans have not increased for either load board in the past three weeks.

Reefer rates at Truckstop.com went up a penny to $2.06. Over at DAT, reefer rates went down a penny to $2.03. Although reefer rates have shown major swings at Truckstop.com in the past several weeks, prices at both load boards have remained fairly close in the last two weeks.

Flatbed rates went down a penny to $1.94, according to Truckstop.com. DAT is also reporting a 1-cent decline for flatbed rates. Despite the consistent decline, rates vary greatly between the two load boards with DAT reporting flatbed rates at $2.06, a 12-cent difference.

Across all modes, Truckstop.com shows that load availability decreased by 1 percent and truck availability went down by 2 percent, indicating a relatively small advantage for truckers seeking loads in comparison to the previous week. According to DAT, van load-to-truck ratios are unchanged, reefer ratios are up and flatbed ratios are down.

Based on both DAT and Truckstop.com reports, load availability in Arkansas appears to be strong, with Indiana and Pennsylvania also showing higher availability. Numbers for Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Connecticut indicate a weaker market for load availability. Indiana and Pennsylvania replaced Texas and North Carolina in the strong market category, whereas the weaker markets remained relatively uniform when compared with the previous week.

Truckstop.com has placed the Market Demand Index (MDI) at 10.1, a 1 percent increase from the previous week. The MDI is a comparison of available loads to available trucks posted on the load board. The higher the MDI, the better the chances that the power rests with the carriers and vice versa; currently, 10 represents an even market.

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