DAT Solutions: Spot loads up 1.5 percent but rates stay flat

Special to Land Line | 10/28/2016

The gains were slight, but there were more loads and trucks on DAT MembersEdge during the week ending Oct. 22.

Yet with the number of posted loads up 1.5 percent and available capacity up 2.5 percent, there was little movement in national average spot rates: The reefer and flatbed rate each slipped 1 cent (to $1.90/mile and $1.91/mile, respectively) while the average van rate held steady at $1.66/mile.

Load-to-truck ratios also were mixed:

  • Van L/T ratio: 2.7. Down 6 percent
  • Reefer L/T ratio: 5.9. Up 2 percent and still strong number for this time of year
  • Flatbed L/T ratio: 15.6. Up 6 percent

Matthew effect: Freight patterns before and after Hurricane Matthew are worth remembering for the next weather event. There was a surge in available van freight before the storm and a slump during the hurricane itself. Then there was another surge in freight to bring in relief supplies. While most roads are open again, it’s likely that normal business was still disrupted last week because rates and volumes were down. Flatbed freight was up in the Southeast, though, which means rebuilding efforts are underway.

Van trends: Van load availability slipped 3 percent and truck posts increased 4 percent last week, which caused the load-to-truck ratio to dip. The Southeast felt the greatest effects of Hurricane Matthew. Outbound rates from Charlotte returned to pre-storm norms, down 22 cents to $1.90/mile last week. Other top van markets by region:

  • West: Los Angeles, $2.06/mile, unchanged
  • South Central: Dallas, $1.54/mile, up 2 cents
  • Midwest: Chicago, $2.00/mile, up 1 cent
  • Northeast: Buffalo, $2.01/mile, up 3 cents

Reefer trends: Northern harvests are wrapping up, but cross-border Mexican produce is ramping up. That led to more loads and higher rates in border markets like McAllen, Texas (up 7 cents to $1.76/mile). Nationally, the number of reefer load posts rose 2 percent and truck posts increased 1 percent last week.

Key reefer lanes:

  • Ontario, Calif.-Phoenix dropped 4 cents to an average of $2.82/mile.
  • Long-haul reefer freight from the West Coast trended down. For example, Ontario-Chicago lost 14 cents to $1.64/mile.
  • Grand Rapids, Mich., outbound fell 6 cents to $2.92/mile.
  • Reefer rates declined last week in the Southeast, as post-hurricane relief was no longer as urgent. The average outbound rate from Atlanta lost 7 cents to $2.26/mile, and Atlanta-Lakeland, Fla., was off 9 cents to $2.86/mile.

Flatbed trends: Flatbed load posts increased 6.6 percent as truck posts held steady.

Fuel holds: At $2.48/gallon, the national average price of diesel was unchanged compared to the previous week.

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.

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