DAT Solutions: Summer break? Rates stay solid

Special to Land Line | 8/3/2016

Lazy days of summer? Not quite.

The number of available loads on the DAT MembersEdge load board gained 4 percent during the week ending July 30 while truck posts fell 5 percent, bumping up load-to-truck ratios for all equipment types:

  • Van L/T ratio: 2.8 (up 11 percent)
  • Reefer L/T ratio: 5.1 percent (up 18 percent)
  • Flatbed L/T ratio: 14.4 percent (up 5 percent)

Opportunities are out there. Here’s what you need to know about where to find them:

National average rates: The national average spot truckload rate for van freight dipped 1 cent to $1.64/mile compared to the previous week, which is still 2 cents higher than the national average in June. The reefer rate was down 3 cents to $1.93/mile; that’s 4 cents below the June average but, by comparison, there was a 10-cent drop between June and July averages last year. For flatbeds, the national average rate picked up a penny to $1.92/mile, 4 cents below the June average.

Diesel down again: The national average price of diesel declined another 3 cents to $2.35/gallon. Because spot rates are all-in rates and include a surcharge portion, lower fuel prices can chip away at rates.

Van rates split: On the DAT MembersEdge top 100 van lanes, 44 had higher rates compared to the previous week and 44 were lower. The rest were unchanged.

Markets to watch:

  • Columbus ($1.80/mile, up 5 cents): Columbus-Buffalo paid 16 cents better last week at $2.01/mile, which is well above the average for the year on that lane. Columbus-Atlanta also added 11 cents to 1.64/mile. 
  • Dallas ($1.58/mile, unchanged): Still the No. 2 market on DAT MembersEdge for van load posts behind Atlanta, but also No. 3 for truck posts. That means there’s more competition, which keeps rates from rising.

Reefers hot and cold: Reefer rates lost ground in California last week, led by Los Angeles down 5 cents to $2.46/mile and Fresno off 2 cents to $2.02/mile. However, major Midwest markets like Grand Rapids picked up the pace: the average rate jumped 20 cents last week, likely because of cucumber and squash harvests.

Flat activity: Most major flatbed markets were down but one bucked that trend: Raleigh, N.C., where construction activity fueled demand. The average spot rate was up 14 cents last week to an average of $2.54/mile. The lane from Raleigh to Tampa gained 35 cents in the past month to $2.55/mile.

Flatbed lanes with gains:

  • Roanoke-Baltimore surged to $3.93/mile. That’s $1.18 higher than last month.
  • Savannah-Charlotte recovered 38 cents to $2.55/mile.
  • Cleveland-Roanoke spiked 36 cents and paid $2.50/mile on average.

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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