DAT Solutions: Normal patterns

Special to Land Line | 7/20/2016

Last week was the first full workweek following the Fourth of July holiday, so it’s no surprise to see truck posts up 37 percent on the MembersEdge load board.

But load posts rose just 7 percent during the week ending July 16. Since we’re comparing a five-day workweek to a four-day week, this is a noticeable decline in load availability. Load-to-truck ratios dropped for all equipment types:

  • Van L/T ratio: 2.6 (down 26 percent)
  • Reefer L/T ratio: 4.7 percent (down 27 percent)
  • Flatbed L/T ratio: 13.4 percent (down 14 percent)

Fewer loads are typical in early July, the start of a seasonal transition for vans and reefers.

National average rates: The average spot truckload rate for reefer freight fell 4 cents to $1.98/mile during the week, still a penny higher than the national average in June. The van rate was $1.66/mile, also 4 cents higher than the June average. The national average flatbed rate gained 4 cents to $1.85/mile, still 6 cents below the June average.

Diesel down: The national average diesel price dipped another 1 cent to a national average of $2.40/gallon. At least fuel costs are going in the right direction.

Van volumes lower: Van load posts were up 3 percent last week. During the first full week after a holiday, a 20 percent increase is more in line with expectations.

Seasonal shifts: Like many markets in the South, Atlanta – the No. 1 market for van load posts on DAT MembersEdge – reported lower rates for outbound loads especially on key northbound lanes like Atlanta-Philadelphia (down 22 cents to $2.19/mile) and Atlanta-Columbus (down 24 cents to $1.77/mile).

Good news in Memphis: Prices from Memphis mostly held steady at an average of $1.94/mile (up 1 cent). The lane to Columbus was a bright spot, up 15 cents to $2.03/mile. That lane is associated with retail freight, so this could be a sign of good things to come.


Reefers cool off: Reefer load posts dropped 4 percent while truck posts increased 32 percent for the week. Again, the load activity was below expectations.

Border points: On the Mexican border, the average outbound rate from McAllen, Texas, gained 7 cents to $1.82/mile and edged up on most high-volume lanes. Nogales, Ariz., meanwhile, fell 15 cents per mile with Nogales-Los Angeles plunging 39 cents to $1.67/mile.

L.A. dodger: The average reefer rate from Los Angeles dropped 9 cents to $2.58/mile despite an uptick in volume. Loads and rates also dipped in Fresno ($2.11/mile, 7 cents lower).

Flat activity: Flatbed load posts added 18 percent last week while truck posts increased 37 percent—a healthy rebound. Rates are trending down in Northeastern markets, including an average drop of 5 cents to $3.01/mile on outbound lanes originating in Harrisburg, Pa.

Jumpin’ June: Seasonal freight added 28 percent to spot market load availability in June, boosting total volume to levels seen in 2013 and 2012, and only 12 percent below 2015 totals, according to the DAT North American Freight Index. It is typical for freight volume to increase in June and decline in July, but this year’s surge also jump-started volume and rates in July to date. That red line on the chart? It’s a good thing.

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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