DAT Solutions: Spot rates rise

Special to Land Line | 6/10/2016

A four-day workweek would normally account for a 20-25 percent decline in the number of posted loads.

But load availability was down just 9 percent during the week ending June 4 – a good sign for the spot market and retail freight in particular, reported DAT Solutions, which operates the MembersEdge load board.

Load-to-truck ratios for vans, reefers and flatbeds all increased as a result, a positive trend for carriers:

  • Van L/T ratio: 2.5 loads per truck (up 31 percent)
  • Reefer: 4.6 (up 13 percent)
  • Flatbed: 18.4 (up 30 percent)

National average rates:

  • Van: $1.62/mile. Up 8 cents including a 1-cent increase in the fuel surcharge. The upward rate trend continues. 
  • Reefer: $1.93/mile. Up 6 cents including a 2-cent hike in the fuel surcharge.
  • Flatbed: $1.93/mile. Up 1 cent due to the fuel surcharge; the average line-haul rate for flatbed freight was unchanged.

Vans in a seasonal pattern: Spot market demand is lower than it was a year ago but van rates are still following normal seasonal patterns. Demand for vans decreased only 4 percent last week rather than a 20 percent drop that would be expected during a 4-day work week.

Where the rates are (van edition): On high-volume routes, rate increases far outnumbered lanes with falling prices. Key movers:

  • Columbus to Buffalo paid 24 cents better at $2.62/mile, which is a sign that retail shipments stayed strong after Memorial Day.
  • Rates rose 18 cents to $2.47/mile from Chicago to Detroit, which is another retail-driven lane.
  • Memphis to Indianapolis is another retail-driven lane, and rates rose 22 cents to $1.88/mile.
  • Atlanta is the top market for load posts on DAT MembersEdge. Capacity has gotten tighter there, and outbound rates climbed up to $1.81/mile.

Reefer trends: There’s often a slump in reefer freight availability right after Memorial Day. Things were still trending up, however, particularly in the Midwest. By region, spot rates for notable reefer markets include:

  • West: Fresno, Calif., $2.13/mile, up 6 cents
  • Midwest: Green Bay, Wisc., $2.40/mile, up 4 cents
  • South Central: McAllen, Texas, $1.89/mile, unchanged
  • Southeast: Lakeland, Fla., $1.70/mile, down 17 cents
  • Northeast: Philadelphia, $2.16/mile, up 3 cents

Reefer rates have fallen sharply in Florida. The steep drop in volumes in the central part of the state has affected pricing out of Miami: the average rate from Miami to Baltimore, a key lane, plunged 61 cents to $2.26/mile.

Flatbed L/T ratio up 30 percent: Flatbed load availability was off 14 percent while capacity fell 33 percent. That led to a 30 percent increase in the flatbed load-to-truck ratio, at 18.4 loads per truck.

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.

Get the latest rate trends at DAT.com/Trendlines or join the conversation on Twitter with @LoadBoards. Look for more information about load availability and rates at OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com, and listen each Wednesday to Land Line Now for more talk about where to find profitable freight.