DAT Solutions: Reefer rate tops $2

Special to Land Line | 7/14/2016

It was a hot week for refrigerated carriers.

The average spot truckload rate for reefer freight surged 5 cents to $2.02/mile during the week ending July 9 and topped $2 for the first time since October 2015, reported DAT Solutions, which operates the MembersEdge load board.

Available loads of all types fell 19 percent, and truck posts were down 22 percent compared to the previous week – as expected when you compare a four-day workweek to a five-day workweek.

As a result we saw an increase in load-to-truck ratios:

  • Reefer L/T ratio: 6.5 (up 1 percent compared to last week after a sharp rise in June)
  • Van L/T ratio: 3.5 (the highest ratio yet this year, up 6 percent)
  • Flatbed L/T ratio: 15.6 (down 1 percent)

National average spot truckload rates surged compared to the previous week:

  • Van: $1.70/mile, up 8 cents
  • Reefer: $2.02/mile, up 1 cent 
  • Flatbed: $1.85/mile, down 10 cents

Major-market indicators: This is still a transition period for produce, with the focus shifting north. The average Chicago outbound rate was up 6 cents to $2.12/mile, and load counts there were down less than you’d expect for a four-day workweek. Atlanta ($2.37/mile, down 11 cents) and Lakeland, Fla. ($1.56/mile, down 12 cents), both fell.

Lanes with gains:

  • Sacramento-Portland, Ore.: $3.13/mile, up 13 cents
  • Green Bay-Joliet: $2.84/mile, up 9 cents
  • Dallas-Phoenix: $1.30/mile, up 13 cents

Reefer rates and volumes continue to decline at markets in Arizona and Texas that share a border with Mexico. Example: McAllen fell 6 cents to $1.75/mile.

Vans rates jump: Spot van rates typically drop after July 4 but not last week as the average rate climbed higher than June averages. Some truckers may have taken an extended holiday, which made it harder for shippers and brokers to find trucks. Or it could be an improving freight market. Next week’s numbers should tell us more.

Volumes lower: Van load posts dropped 19 percent and truck posts declined 24 percent - in line with expectations for a holiday week.

Hot-lanta: Atlanta remains the No. 1 market for spot van load posts on DAT MembersEdge; the average outbound rate was $2.04/mile. Dallas moved into the No. 2 spot (average rate: $1.59/mile), with Dallas-Houston up 7 cents to $2.30/mile.

Northern climbs: Outbound rates in Philadelphia and Allentown, Pa., saw some of the biggest rate increases last week. The lane from Allentown to Boston was up an average of 14 cents to $3.24/mile.

Trending down: At $1.92/mile, the average Memphis rate slipped 4 cents. That market is closely tied to retail, so it’s not surprising to see rates slide right after the end of the quarter.

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 in each Wednesday to Land Line Now for more talk about where to find profitable freight.

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